US 3893271 A
Disclosed is a high-strength, lightweight, basic beam of a single shape which can serve as a column, truss, girder, jamb or other structural member whereby an entire structure can be built using the same basic beam for all of the structural members. The basic beam structural member comprises a unitary, elongated rigid beam having a pair of parallel, opposed channel-shaped portions connected by a pair of spaced walls positioned inwardly from the sides of the channels to define a longitudinally extending slot therebetween and a pair of opposed recesses. A metal or plastic rectangular shaped tube is inserted in the longitudinal slot to provide extra strength and facilitate interconnecting of the structural members.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [1 1 Kotlarz 1 BASIC BEAM STRUCTURAL MEMBER AND STRUCTURES BUILT TIIEREFROM  Inventor: Joseph C. Kotlarz, 109 W. Woodlawn Dr., Village of Mundelein, 111. 60060  Filed: Sept. 27, 1973 211 Appl. No.: 401,426
 US. Cl. 52/168; 52/220; 52/227; 52/293; 52/295; 52/274; 52/403; 52/475;
 Int. CI. E04B 1/92; E048 l/24  Field of Search 52/403, 220, 475, 295, 52/729, 227, 23, 243, 168, 241, 274, 240,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 269,018 12/1882 Crowell et a1. 52/23 1,417,102 5/1922 Nyman et al. 52/475 X 2,085,281 6/1937 Wagoner 52/403 X 2,706,541 4/1955 Crown 52/403 X 3,058,552 10/1962 Baras 52/475 X 3,104,060 9/1963 Bricmontmm. 52/168 X 3,122,223 2/1964 Chell et al. 52/475 X 3,128,852 4/1964 Chell et a1. 52/403 X 3,156,018 11/1964 Slayter i 52/403 X 3,189,140 6/1965 Luss 52/495 X 3,295,283 l/l967 Griffith et al. 52/475 3,327,438 6/1967 Cooper 52/495 X [4 1 July 8,1975
Primary ExaminerFrank L. Abbott Assistant Examiner-Leslie A. Braum  ABSTRACT Disclosed is a high-strength, lightweight, basic beam of a single shape which can serve as a column, truss, girder, jamb or other structural member whereby an entire structure can be built using the same basic beam for all of the structural members. The basic beam structural member comprises a unitary, elongated rigid beam having a pair of parallel, opposed channel-shaped portions connected by a pair of spaced walls positioned inwardly from the sides of the channels to define a longitudinally extending slot therebetween and a pair of opposed recesses. A metal or plastic rectangular shaped tube is inserted in the longitudinal slot to provide extra strength and facilitate interconnecting of the structural members.
9 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJUL 8 I975 SHEET BASIC BEAM STRUCTURAL MEMBER AND STRUCTURES BUILT THEREFROM BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Primarily due to the increased cost of conventional construction, which requires on-site forming and fitting of structural members as well as construction of heating, cooling and electrical systems, efforts have been made to pre-engineer portions of or entire structures. Examples are pre-fabricated walls which incorporate water and electrical systems. For larger structures or those incorporating large glazing panels, efforts have been made to pre-engineer the framework structures in order to simplify construction and thereby achieve an economy. An example is the United States Steel Corporation's ULTIME'I' framing system which provides curtain walls, windows and doors. With this system, the components are shipped "knocked down to the job site ready to erect. US. Pat. Nos. 3,357,145 and 3,436,887, issued Dec. 12, I967 and Apr. 8, I969 respectively, disclose curtain wall structures. Such systems and structures are not load bearing, however, curtain walls being designed to enable architects to utilize both fixed glass or operable sash on the exterior of a building at economical costs. With such curtain walls, vertical mullions are anchored to a building structure and horizontal members are assembled thereto in interlocking fashion. While such curtain wall structures provide economy, simplicity, appearance and ease of assembly, they are not load-bearing and are fabricated from a multiplicity of different components. US. Pat. No. 3,415,024 issued Dec. 10, 1968, discloses building structures of the type incorporating glazing panels fitted within a framework structure such as translucent curtain walls, patio roofs, skylights, swimming pool enclosures and solariums and which comprise a supporting framework of hollow channel-like members having a fluid-flow manifold system therein for heating and cooling the structure. While entire structures, such as a swimming pool enclosure, are disclosed and in which the framework is supporting, each structural member such as the columns, girders and trusses are of a different design necessitating separate fabrication of each structural member.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a high-strength, lightweight, basic beam of a single shape which can serve as a column, truss, mullion, purlin, header, sill, girder, jamb, threshold, top or bottom plate and thereby provide a basic beam structural system. Accordingly, an entire structure can be built using the same basic beam for all of the structural members. Such a high-strength, lightweight, basic beam structural system can be applied to a pre-engineered or conventional structures and is flexible in its application to various geometrical shapes and forms. Further, the basic beam of the present invention provides predetermined costs, total design, interchangeable components, minimum maintenance and is adaptable to future expansion.
Briefly, the basic beam structural member of the present invention comprises a unitary, elongated rigid beam having a pair of parallel, opposed channel-shaped portions connected by a pair of spaced walls positioned inwardly from the sides of the channels to define a longitudinally extending slot therebetween and a pair of opposed recesses. One side of one of the channels can be left open to provide a readily accessible passageway for electrical or fluid-flow systems. A metal or plastic rectangular shaped tube can be inserted in the longitudinal slot to provide extra strength and prevent buckling, particularly under compressive loads. By suitably interconnecting the various structural members, all of which comprise the same basic beam structural member, an entire structure can be assembled. A rigging cable, anchored to the foundation of the structure and positioned within the outermost channel of opposing columns and the interconnecting truss can provide additional rigidity to the structure.
Preferably, the basic beam structural members of the present invention are fabricated of stainless steel such as type 30] 302, 304 and 3l6. Stainless steel provides high strength and outstanding corrosion and fire resistance and, having good ductility and formability, can be fabricated by roll-forming techniques on rollforming equipment.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The invention can be better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of a basic beam structural system comprising a vertical column and interconnected base plate, top plate, truss, transom plate and horizontal members;
FIG. 2 is a vertical cross-section of the truss portions of a structure having a dome-like top and illustrating the positioning of gaskets and glazing panels;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view, partially in crosssection, illustrating the positioning of gaskets and glazing panels in a vertical column of the present invention;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a basic beam structural member of the present invention having a heating and cooling unit therein;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary side elevation of a vertical column and attached bottom plate, truss and transom plate and illustrating the positioning of a reinforcing cable therein;
FIG. 6 is a section taken along the line 6-6 of FIG.
FIG. 7 is a vertical cross-section of a bottom plate illustrating the positioning of gaskets and wall panels therein;
FIG. 8 is a vertical cross-section illustrating anchoring of a vertical column, base plate and reinforcing cable; and
FIG. 9 is a horizontal cross-section of a vertical column having a heating and cooling unit and reinforcing cable therein and supporting brackets attached thereto.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION FIGS. 1 through 9 of the drawings illustrate the highstrength, lightweight, basic beam of the present invention and exemplary construction employing the same basic beam for all of the structural members. As best seen in FIG. 4, the high-strength, lightweight, basic beam 10 of the present invention comprises an integral, elongated, rigid structure 11 having a pair of opposed channel-shaped portions I2, 13 connected by a pair of spaced walls I4, 15 positioned inwardly from the respective sides l6, l7, l8 and 19 of the channel-shaped portions l2, 13 to define a longitudinally extending slot 20 therebetween and a pair of longitudinally extending, opposed recesses 21, 22. The front face 23 of the channel-shaped portion 13 is left open for the purpose hereinafter described. As best seen in FIG. 9, the edges 24, 25 of the front face 23 are crimped inwardly to form lips 26, 27 for added strength. Likewise, to add strength, bars 28 can be spaced along the length of the front face 23 and attached thereto by welding them to the lips 26, 27. In use, the basic beam 10 is positioned with the open face 23 directed to the inside of the structure being built and can thereafter be covered with a decorative panel 29. The passageways 30, 31 within the channel-shaped portions 12, 13 of the basic beam 10 can be utilized for telephones, electrical, water or heating and cooling systems and the like. In the embodiment illustrated, the passageway 31 in the channel-shaped portion 13, having an open face 23 contains a fluid conduit 32 with fins 33 attached thereto and can be used for heating or cooling purposes. To provide rigidity and facilitate the attachment of supporting brackets and the like, a rectangular reinforcing bar 34 is disposed within the longitudinal slot 20 of the basic beam 10, formed by the walls 14, 15 connecting the channel-shaped portions 12, 13', the bar 34 being coextensive with the length and width of the slot 20. The bar 34 may be hollow as illustrated or solid and may be made of a suitable plastic material as well as metal.
FIGS. 1 and illustrate a structure 40 assembled from the basic beam structural member of the present invention and comprising a vertical column 41, base plate 42, top plate 43, truss 44, girders 45, transom plate 46 and horizontal members 47, all having the same configuration and interconnected together which, when assembled with similar structures, form a complete building structure.
Referring to FIGS. 1, 5, 6 and 8, the vertical column 41 is anchored in a preformed opening 51 in the concrete foundation 50. The vertical column 41 rests on an anchor post block 52 which in turn rests on a plate 49 which also seals the bottom of the opening 51. Preferably, the anchor post block 52 is made of stainless steel or fluorocarbon and the plate 49 of stainless steel. Epoxy cement can be used to further anchor the vertical column 41 in place. As illustrated in FIG. 8, after the vertical column 41 is anchored in place in the foundation 50, the bottom plates 42 are positioned on the foundation 50 and fastened to the column 41 by means of L-shaped supporting brackets 53, 54 which are placed in the recesses of the vertical column 41 and bottom plates 42 in contact with both members and riv' eted or otherwise fastened thereto. Likewise, the horizontal members 47 are positioned against the vertical column 41 and similar opposed columns (not shown) and fastened thereto with supporting brackets 63, 64 placed in both the recesses 21, 22 in the channelshaped portions 12, 13 of horizontal members 47 or other basic beam regardless of which structural member it may be. Thus, the top plate 43, truss 44, girders 45 and transom plate 46 can be attached to the vertical column 41 in the same manner.
When two basic beams 10 are positioned at right angles to each other for assembly, such as the vertical column 41 and base plates 42 illustrated in FIG. 8, the end 35 of one of the basic beams 10 rests against the sides 58, 59 of the other beam 41 so that a space remains between the end 35 of the one beam 10 and slot 20 formed by the walls 14, (FIG. 4) of the other beam. Accordingly, to facilitate attachment of the L-shaped supporting brackets 53, 54 to the vertical column 41 and base plates 42, a short section of a solid bar 57 is positioned in the slot of the base plate 42 extending into the recess 56 in the vertical column 41 and in abutment with the wall 60 in the vertical column 41 (see FIG. 1). As illustrated in FIG. 8, rivets 61 or other fastening means can then be utilized to fasten the brackets 53, 54 to the bars 57 in the base plates 42. In the same manner, rivets 62 can be used to fasten the brackets 53, 54 to the vertical column 41. Likewise, horizontal members 47, girders 45, transom plates 46 and all other structural members lying in a horizontal position can similarly be fastened to the vertical structural members or columns. As can be seen in FIGS. 1 and 5, horizontal members 47 and other horizontal structural members positioned intermediate the ends of the vertical structural members such as column 41 can be fastened by brackets 63, 64 placed in both the upper and lower recesses 21, 22 (FIG. 4) in the horizontal structural members 47.
To provide extra rigidity to the assembled structure 40, a rigging cable 66 can be placed in the passageway 30 of the vertical columns 41 and truss members 44. As can be seen in FIGS. 5, 8 and 9, the rigging cable 66 is positioned in the passageway 30 of the vertical column 41 and truss 44 and has a forked member 67 on one end and a turnbuckle 68 on the other end. The cable 66 is anchored to the foundation 50 by fastening the forked member 67 to a bar 69, which passes through the plate 49 and into the foundation 50, by means of a pin 70 inserted through openings in the forked member 67 and bar 69 (FIG. 8). Similarly, cable 66 is placed in the opposed vertical column (not shown) and the turnbuckle 68 is then tightened through the open front face 23 (FIG. 4) of the truss 44. Preferably, to minimize the possibility of the cable 66 being cut at the point at which it enters the passageway 30 in the truss 44 (FIG. 5), an angle-shaped support bar 71 is positioned in the corner formed by the vertical column 41 and the truss 44 (see FIG. 5). A groove (not shown) in the outwardly facing surfaces of the support 71 guides and retains the cable 66.
The angle support bar 71 is inserted in the slots 20 in the intersecting vertical column 41 and truss 44 and attached thereto and consequently also serves to fasten the two members together. As can be seen in FIG. 7, the base plate 42 rests on a sheet 72 and a slide-bearing block 73 is placed in the lower recess 30 in the base plate 42. The sheet 72 and bearing block 73 are preferably made of fluorocarbon plastic and, together with the anchor post blocks 52, permit slight movement of the structure 40 due to wind or other stresses as well as provide a seal against snow and water.
After the structure 40 is assembled from the basic beam structural members 10 as described, glazing panels or wall panels can be installed in the resulting framework to complete the building or structure 40. FIGS. 2, 3 and 7 illustrate the gasket system 75 for placing in either of the recesses 21, 22 in the basic beam structural member 10 for retaining the glazing 85 or wall panels 80. The gasket system 75 is reversible and comprises a generally L-shaped pillow block 76 having an elongated portion 77 engageable with one side 81 of the panel and a shoulder 78 projecting from the elongated portion 77 and extending to the other side of the panel 86, upon which the panel '80 can rest, and an opposing insert portion 79 of elongated shape and engageable with the side 82 of the panel 80 opposite the side 81 of the panel 80 engageable with the elongated portion 77 of the pillow block 76. Ribs 83 are preferably formed in the sides of the gaskets 76, 79 engageable with the walls of the recess20 or with each other and help to keep the gasket system 75 from slipping due to vibration caused by wind or other forces. As illustrated in FIG. 7, the wall panel 80 is glazed from the inside of the structure 40. The pillow block 76 is put in place in the recess 20 of the base plate 42 and other structural members forming the framework and then the wall panel 80 is positioned on the shoulder 78 of the pillow block 76 and in engagement with the elongated portion 77. The insert portion 79 of the gasket system is subsequently put in place in the recess 20, from the inside of the structure in engagement with the side 82 of the panel 80 and the shoulder 78 of the opposing pillow block 76 to thereby retain the wall panel 80 in place. If desired, the position of the pillow block 76 and insert portion 79 can be reversed so that the wall panel 80 can be glazed from the outside. Glazing panels 85, which can be made of glass or plastic, are glazed in the same manner, as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3.
The gasket system 75 is preferably made of neoprene and, being resilient, permits some expansion and contraction of the wall panel 80 or glazing panel 85 thereby minimizing any cracking of the panels or leak- FIG. 2 illustrates the arrangement of a top plate 43 and girder 45, gasket system 75 and glazing panel 85. As illustrated, a dome panel 87 is installed to cover the structure 40, the dome panel 87 being held in place by means of a retaining clip 88 and gasket system 75 combination.
The versatility of the basic beam structural member of the present invention permits a variety of designs and combinations. FIGS. 5 and 6 illustrate a honeycomb panel 90 installed in the opposing passageways 31 of the truss 44 and transom plate 46 members with spaced struts 91 affixed to both members to provide additional support and strength. Likewise, if desired, insulation 93 can be installed in the passageway 30 of the basic beam structural members 10 of the building structure 40 which face the outside. If made of reinforced plastic, the insulation 93 will strengthen and stiffen the structural member as well as provide insulation. As previously described, a fluid conduit 32 can be positioned in either of the passageways 30, 31 of the basic beam structural members 10 for heating or cooling of the building structure 40. Similarly, a sprinkler system can be installed by positioning sprinkler heads 95 along the conduit 32 in the truss 44 or transom plate 46 as illustrated in FIG. 6. Likewise, sprinkler heads 95 can be placed in any of the other structural members, including the vertical columns 41.
As is readily apparent, a complete structural framework can be assembled from structural members fabricated from the same high-strength, lightweight, basic beam structural member 10 of the present invention. Additionally, the basic beam structural system is flexible in its application, can be easily and economically assembled, and can be utilized for the installation of heating and cooling systems, electrical and communication systems, as well as sprinkler systems.
What is claimed is:
1'. A building structure assembled from a plurality of the same basic beam structural members, said structure comprising:
parallel, spaced, generally horizontally and vertically disposed basic beam structural members arranged in transverse relation to each other;
said horizontal members being engaged with said vertical members at preselected vertical heights thereon to form a framework structure with the vertical members; and
fastening means for said horizontal members to said vertical members in a secure abutting relation;
each of said horizontal members and said vertical members comprising an integral, elongated rigid structure having a pair of parallel, spaced, opposed U-shaped channel members, each said channel member having an end face and two side walls, and said side walls of each said channel extending towards and in a spaced, parallel relationship with the walls of the other channel member said U- shaped channel members defining passageways therein, one of said U-shaped channel members having an open face to provide access to the passageway therein;
a pair of longitudinally extending, opposed recesses in the side walls of said U-shaped channel members, said recesses being formed by walls projecting inwardly from the respective side walls of the channel members, and a pair of spaced walls disposed between the inwardly projecting walls to thereby connect the opposed channel members, the pair of spaced walls defining a longitudinally extending slot therebetween;
a reinforcing member disposed within the longitudinally extending slot, said member being coextensive with the length and width of the slot; and
a cable disposed in the passageways of an interconnected vertical member, uppermost horizontal member forming a truss, and opposing vertical member, said cable being anchored to the foundation at each end thereof at the bottom of each of the opposing vertical members to thereby provide extra rigidity to the assembled structure.
2. The building structure of claim 1 including an angle support positioned in the corner formed by the vertical members and the truss to guide and retain said cable.
3. The building structure of claim 2 wherein said cable includes a forked member on either end thereof and tightening means intermediate the ends, said forked members being fastened to a bar inserted in the foundation upon which said structure rests.
4. The building structure of claim 1 wherein the fastening means for fastening the horizontal members to the vertical members comprises a supporting bracket disposed in the recess in the vertical member and the opposing recess in the horizontal member, said sup porting bracket being fastened to both members to thereby maintain said members in a secure abutting relation.
5. The building structure of claim 4 including a solid bar disposed in the slot in the horizontal member, said bar extending into the recess in the vertical member and in abutment with the wall in the vertical column to thereby facilitate attachment of the supporting brack- 61S.
6. The building structure of claim including a base I: 8. The building structure of claim 7 including spaced Plate, Said base Piate resting on a sheet of fluorocarbon sprinkler heads positioned along said fluid conduit to plastic, and a slide-bearing block disposed in the recess provide a fire protection System.
in b.ase piate facmg said sheet sheet and block 9. The building structure of claim 1 including gaskets permlttlng slight movement of the structure as well as 5 providing a seal again Snow and water disposed within the framework structures formed by 7. The building structure of claim 5 including a fluid the vertical and horizontal members, and P fitted conduit disposed in the passageways in the horizontally Within the g and vertically disposed structural members.