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Publication numberUS3859000 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 7, 1975
Filing dateMar 30, 1972
Priority dateMar 30, 1972
Publication numberUS 3859000 A, US 3859000A, US-A-3859000, US3859000 A, US3859000A
InventorsWebster John L
Original AssigneeReynolds Metals Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Road construction and panel for making same
US 3859000 A
Abstract
A road construction comprised of a plurality of identical invertible polygonal panels with each panel comprising a plurality of single piece peripheral frame members fixed together to define a polygonal configuration and each of the members having a roughly L-shaped projection extending therefrom which is adapted to be interlocked with an identical projection of an associated member. Each panel also has a pair of load-carrying sheets fixed on opposite sides of its frame members.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

U mite 101 Webster States Patent 1191 [54] ROAD CONSTRUCTION AND PANEL FOR MAKING SAME 75 Inventor: John L. Webster, Richmond, Va.

[73] Assignee: Reynolds Metal Company,

1 Richmond, Va.

22 Fiiedi Mar. 30, 1972 21 Appl. No 239,471

[52 Us. C1 ,.404/41,14/27,14/73, 52/588, 52/589, 404/45 511 1m.c1. ..E01 s/22 581 Field of Search ..404/41,44, 45, 73, 18, 404/29; 52/579,580, 588, 589, 590, 601,

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,142,305 1/1939 2,740,167 4/1956 2,849,758 9/1958 2,918,151 12/1959 Kennedy ..5 2/588 3,111,203 11/1963 3,235,040 2/1966 3,379,104 4/1968 Scholl 404/41 X 51 Jan. 7, 1975 Cilaza et al 404/41 x 3,487,756 l/l970 3,512,324 5/1970 Reed 3,564,801 2/1971 Huerta 3,614,915 10/1971 Perry 404/41 X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 647,812 12/1950 Great Britain 404/41 747,177 6/1933 France 821,549 lO/l959 Great Britain Primary Examiner-Roy D. Frazier Assistant Examiner-Thomas J. l-lolko 57 ABSTRACT A road construction comprised of a plurality of identical invertible polygonal panels with each panel comprising a plurality of single piece peripheral frame members fixed together to define a polygonal configuration and each of the members having a roughly L- shaped projection extending therefrom which is adapted to be interlocked with an identical projection of an associated member. Each panel also has a pair of load-carrying sheets fixed on opposite sides of its frame members.

l8 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENTED JAN 7 75 ROAD CONSTRUCTION AND PANEL FOR MAKING SAME BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION There is a need for economical portable aircraft runways, floating roadways capable of being used as bridges, floating piers, and the like, which are easy to install and are capable of withstanding reasonable service usage. Numerous constructions comprised of interlocked panels have been proposed heretofore for use as portable floor constructions; however, such previous constructions are generally deficient because many employ panels which are not capable of withstanding the required usage while others use panels which are too complicated and expensive.

SUMMARY This invention provides an improved road construction and a comparatively low cost high-strength panel for use in such a road construction which overcomes the deficiencies of previous panels. Each panel is comprised of a minimum number of component parts and includes a plurality of single piece peripheral frame members fixed together to define apolygonal configuration with each member having a roughly L-shaped projection extending therefrom which is adapted to be interlocked with an identical projection of an associated member, and each panel has a pair of sheets fixed on opposite sides of the frame members and the sheets define the bottom and top surfaces of the panels.

Other details, uses, and advantages of this invention will become apparent as the following description of the exemplary embodiments thereof presented in the accompanying drawing proceeds.

'BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING The accompanying drawing shows present preferred embodiments of this invention, in which:

FIG. I is a fragmentary plan view of one exemplary embodiment of a road construction of this invention I defined by a plurality of interlocked identical invertible hexagonal panels;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged view taken essentially on the line 2-2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view illustrating a plurality of peripheral frame members fixed together to define a hexagonal configuration and prior to fixing a pair of sheets on opposite sides of the frame members and reinforcing means between the sheets to define a typical hexagonal panel of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary. plan view illustrating the junction of a plurality of three hexagonal panels;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary perspective view illustrating the manner in which hexagonal panels are interlocked in position to define the road construction of FIG. 1; FIG. 6 illustrates another embodiment of a hexagonal panel with a portion of its top sheet broken away to show reinforcing means in the form of a honeycomb structure between the sheets; and

FIG. 7 illustrates still another embodiment of a hexagonal panel with parts broken away and such panel uses girder beams as reinforcing means between its opposed sheets.

DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENTS Reference is now made to FIG. 1 of the drawing which illustrates one exemplary embodiment of a road construction of this invention which is designated generally by the reference numberal l0 and is comprised of a plurality of identical interlocked panels 11 The panels 11 are invertible, i.e., they may be turned upside down, so that either side or surface thereof may be used as a top surface andsuch panels may be used to define a road construction such as a portable landing strip for aircraft, for example. By properselection of the materials used to make the panel, the panels 11 may be used to make floating bridges, floating piers, or similar con structions.

Each typical panel 11 is comprised of a plurality of peripheral frame members 12 (see FIG. 3) suitably fixed together, as by welding or-the like, at their associated ends to define a polygonal configuration; and, in this example of panels 11', such polygonal configuration is a hexagonal configuration. Each member 12 has a roughly L-shaped. interlock or projection 13 extending therefrom and such projection is adapted to be interlocked with an identical projection of an associated member comprising an adjoining panel so that a plurality of panels 11 may be suitably interlocked in the manner illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 5 to define a road conwhich is arranged coplanar with an outside surface 21 of an associated extension 16 of U-shaped portion 14. A pair of hexagonal sheets 19 define opposite sides or surfaces of panel 11 and such sheets may be suitably fixed in position by welding, threaded screws, or similar means.

The L-shaped projection 13 comprising each member 12 has a substantial thickness when compared to the roughly equal thicknesses of the bight l5 and extensions 16 of U-shaped portion 14 and in this example the legs 17 and 18 are roughly two times greater than such roughly equal thicknesses. This substantial thickness provides optimum strength for the panel interlocks and assures that once a plurality of panels 11 are interlocked they will be held firmly together even under severe operating conditions.

Each leg 18 of L-shaped projection 13 defines what may be referred to as a tongue with the volume between the inside surface of each leg 18 and the outside surface of an associated bight l5 defining what may be referred to as a groove 23. The interlocking action is provided by a leg or tongue 18 of one projection being received within a groove 23 of an adjoining panel 11.

Each leg 18 of the projection 13 has an arcuate inside surface 24 which extends in a generous arc and surface 24, in essence, serves as a cam surface to assure a smooth interlocking action. In addition, to assure smooth interlocking without binding tendencies, it will be seen that leg 18 also has a cutout 25 in the central portion of its outside surface thereby defining surface portion 26 at opposite ends of the cutoutwhich assure a comparatively tight interlocking fit yet provide comparatively large bearing surfaces preventing horizontal movements.

Each tongue or leg 18 has a height which is precisely controlled so that its terminal edge 27 engages the inside surface of an associated'leg 17 of a projection 13 of an adjoining panel 11. and is correlated with the thickness of such associated leg to assure that adjoining interlocked panels have their top and bottom surfaces arranged substantially coplanar.

Each L-shaped projection 13 extends from the central portion of its member 12 along substantially the entire length of such member, see FIGS. 3 and 5, whereby once a plurality of panels 11 are interlocked, support is provided along substantially the full length of their adjoining sides due to the extended lengths of the interlocked L-shaped projections 13. With this construction the opposite ends of each projection 13 are spaced inwardly of the opposite ends of their associated member 12 as illustrated at 30 in FIG. 3. This enables interlocking of adjoining panels 11 substantially without interference and at the junction of three panels, a small space or volume exists as illustrated at 31 in FIG. 4.

As will be apparent from FIG. 2 of the drawing, each member 12 hasa stepped outer surface portion 32 at the terminal outer end of each of its extensions 16. The stepped outer surface 32 has a depth which is correlated with the thickness of each sheet 19 so that once a sheet 19 is placed in position in substantially nested relation within stepped surfaces 32 of its associated members 12 its outside surface is arranged substantially coplanar with the outermost coplanar surfaces of extensions 16 supporting such sheet. I

Inasmuch as the frame members 12 comprising each panel 11 are arranged in a hexagonal configuration, the sheet 11 also has a hexagonal configuration corresponding thereto, and the dimensions of each sheet 11 are such that each outer edge thereof is confined by a vertical edge 33 of stepped surface 32 whereby each sheet 11 is-held against horizontal movements. Once each sheet 11 is nested within its stepped surfaces 32 it may be fixed in position-as previously mentioned;

. however, it will be appreciated that reinforcing means is provided between the sheets to prevent collapsing thereof and as will now be described.

Any suitable reinforcing means may be provided between the sheets 11 to prevent inward collapse and in the example illustrated in FIG. 2, such reinforcing means is shown as a rigid foamed elastomeric plastic material and designated by the reference numeral 34. However, it will be appreciated that any suitable elastomeric material such as a suitable plastic or a natural or synthetic rubber may be used. By making the reinforcing means 34 of a light-weight bouyant elastomeric material and selecting a suitable lightweight material for frame members 12 and sheets 19 the density of the panels may be made such that they may be readily used as floating bridges, piers, and the like.

The reinforcing .means may be of any suitable construction which provides support between the sheets 1 1 and frame members 12. Another example' of reinforcing means is illustrated in FIG. 6 of the drawing, which shows a panel provided with reinforcing means in the form of a honeycomb structure 34A. The honeycomb structure may be made using any suitable technique known in the art and may be fixed in position between the sheets 11 in any suitable manner.

It will also be appreciated that the reinforcing means between sheets 11 may be in the form of a more conventional reinforcing structure and as shown in FIG. 7

1 may comprise a plurality of girder beams 34B. The

girder beams may be made using conventional techniques and fixed in position in any suitable manner known in the art.

The panel illustrated in FIG. 6 with its honeycomb reinforcing structure 34A and the panel illustrated in FIG. 7 with its plurality of girder beams 34B may be used to define the road construction 10 of FIG. 1 for use as a portable landing strip, for example. Further, a particular road construction may be comprised of one or more of these different types of panel constructions.

The reinforcing means whether in the form of foamed elastomeric material such as plastic 34, honeycomb 34A, or girder beams 348 may be suitably fixed in position following fixing of one of the sheets 19 against the members 12. The other sheet 19 may then be fixed in position using any suitable technique.

The members 12 are preferably made by extrusion process as previously mentioned and are preferably made of a lightweight high strength material such as an aluminous material which also has optimum corrosion resistance. In addition, the sheets 19 are also preferably manner about the entire periphery of the panel. This arrangement with a hexagonal panel assures optimum support for the panels 11 once the panels are interlocked to define a road construction 10 and the manner in which the particular road construction is defined will now be described in detail in connection with FIG. 5 of the drawings, which illustrates a fragmentary view of a plurality of four panels 11 which are designated by the reference numerals W, X, Y, and Z.

The building of a road construction. 10 may be achieved, for example, simply by placing panel W on a horizontal surface. Panels X and Y are then placed in are turned with the leg portions 18 thereof extending downwardly whereby these leg portions are interlocked with panels X and Y as indicated at 41 and 42. This operation is repeated for each additional panel 11 until the desired length and width of the roadway 10 is provided.

Each internally arranged panel 11 of a roadway ,is completely supported and interlocked in position so that it cannot be moved either upwardly or downwardly relative to adjoining panels 11 due to the unique interlocking action provided by its L-shaped projections 13. However, those outer panels 11 defining outer edge portions of a roadway, are not completely supported about their entire peripheries. To restrict movement of the free or unsupported portions of the outer panels a simple clamping or holding arrangement such as shown at 43 in FIG. 1 may be used. The clamping arrangement may be of any suitable construction and may be a simple metal screw or nut and bolt arrangement.

While present exemplary embodiments of this invention, and methods of practicing the same, have been illustrated and described, it will be recognized that this invention may be otherwise variously embodied and practiced within the scope of the following claims.

What is claimed is: V

l. A road construction comprising a plurality of substantially identical invertible interlocked panels, each of said panels comprising, a plurality of single-piece peripheral frame members fixed together to define a polygonal configuration, each of said members having a single roughly L-shaped projection extending therefrom which is adapted to be independently interlocked with an identical projection of an associated member free of additional locking means, each of said members having a U-shaped portion comprised of a bight having a pair of parallel extensions extending from opposite ends of the bight, said U-shaped portion being adjoined by its associated L-shaped projection, said L-shaped projection having a pair of legs with one of said legs being arranged perpendicular to said bight and having an outside surface arranged coplanar with the outside surface of an associated extension and the other of each of said legs being arranged roughly parallel to said bight and having a height which is precisely controlled and extends over the major part of the height of said bight so that the terminal outer edge of said other leg engages the inside surface of an associated perpendicular leg of said associated member to assure that adjoining interlocked panels have their top and bottom surfaces arranged substantially coplanar, said other leg having a cutout therein in the central portion of its outside surface defining surface portions at opposite ends of the cutout which assure a comparatively tight interlocking fit and provide comparatively large bearing surfaces preventing horizontal movements, each of said legs of said L-shaped projection having a thickness which is roughly twicethe thickness of siad bight, said U-shaped portion and L-shaped projection being made of a metallic material and having a solid cross section throughout, and a pair of sheets fixed on opposite sides of said frame members and defining bottom and top surfaces of said panel.

2. A road construction as set forth in claim 1 in which each L-shaped projection extends from the central portion of its member and along'substantially its entire length.

3. A road construction as set forth in claim 2 and further comprising reinforcing means between said sheets and within said frame members.

4. A road construction as set forth in claim 3 in which said reinforcing means is a foamed elastomeric material.

5. A road construction as set forth in claim 3 in whic said reinforcing means is a honeycomb structure.

6. A road construction as set forth inclaim 3 in which said reinforcing means is a plurality of girder beams.

7. A road construction as set forth in claim 3 in which said polygonal configuration is a regular polygon and said members are extruded metal members.

8. A road construction as set forth in claim 3 in which said polygonal configuration is a hexagonal configuration and said members are extruded members which are welded together at their associated ends with the L-shaped projections of each pair of adjoining members facing in opposite directions.

9. A road construction as set forth in claim 8 wherein each extruded member is made of an aluminous material.

10. A road construction as set forth in claim 1 in which each of said members has a recess which is adapted to receive a terminal edge portion of an associated sheet therewithin so that the outside surface of each associated sheet is substantially coplanar with a plane adjoining a side of each of said members.

11. A road construction as set forth in claim 10 in which each of said sheets is made of an aluminous material and has a polygonal outer configuration corresponding and having a smaller area than the polygonal configuration defined by said members.

12. An invertible hexagonal panel for a road construction comprising, a plurality of single-piece peripheral frame members fixed together to define a hexagonal configuration, each of said members having a single roughly L-shaped projection extending therefrom which is adapted to be independently interlocked with an identical projection of an associated member free of additional locking means, each of said members having a U-shaped portion comprised of a bight having a pair of parallel extensions extending from opposite ends of the bight, said U-shaped portion being adjoined by its associated L-shaped projecition, said L-shaped projection having a pair of legs with one of said legs being arranged perpendicular to said bight and having an out side surface arranged coplanar with the outside surface of an associated extension and the other of each of said legs being arranged roughly parallel to said bight and having a height which is precisely controlled and extends over the major part of the height of said bight so that the terminal outer edge of said other leg engages the inside surface of an associated perpendicular leg of said associated member to assure that adjoining panels interlocked with said panel have their top and bottom surfaces arranged substantially coplanar, said other leg having cutout therein in the central portion of its out side surface defining surface portions at opposite ends of the cutout which assure a comparatively tight interlocking fit and provide comparatively large bearing surfaces preventing horizontal movements each of said legs of said L-shaped projection having a thickness which is roughly twice the thickness of said bight, said U-shaped portion and L-shaped projection of each of said frame members being made of a metallic material and having a solid cross section throughout, and a pair of sheets having a hexagonal configuration and fixed on opposite sides of said frame members, said sheets defin- 8 shaped projections-of each pair of adjoining members facing in opposite directions. I

18. A panel as set forth in claiml2 in which said members and sheets are made of an aluminous material and each of said members has a recess which is adapted to receive a terminal edge portion of an associated sheet therewithin so that the outside surface of each associated sheet is substantially coplanar with a plane adjoining a side of each of said members.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification404/41, 14/73, 404/45, 14/27
International ClassificationE01D15/00, E01C5/00, E01C9/08, B63B35/34, E01D15/14, E02B3/06, E01C5/22, E01C9/00
Cooperative ClassificationE04F2201/0138, E01C9/08, B63B35/34, E04F2201/046, E01D15/14, E02B3/064, E01C5/22
European ClassificationE01D15/14, E02B3/06B2, B63B35/34, E01C5/22, E01C9/08