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Title:
APPARATUS AND METHODS FOR INSULATING AN ELECTRICALLY-GROUNDABLE SUPPORT SURFACE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/032266
Kind Code:
A4
Abstract:
An insulated, electrically groundable, support surface includes at least one heat shield (400) configured to be disposed between a ground cover (26) and an electrically-conductive cover (110) of the support surface to insulate the ground cover (26) from heat generated by electric current flowing through the electrically-conductive cover (110).

Inventors:
BORDELON, Randy, Paul (1833A HWY 357, Opelousas, LA, 70570, US)
LANIGAN, Matthew, Stephen, James (26W Isles Pl, The Woodlands, TX, 77381, US)
DURIO, Kenneth, Edward (1999 Main Hwy, Arnaudville, LA, 70512, US)
McDOWELL, James, Kerwin (311 Bellevue Plantation Rd, Lafayette, LA, 70503, US)
Application Number:
US2018/043206
Publication Date:
March 14, 2019
Filing Date:
July 22, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
NEWPARK MATS & INTEGRATED SERVICES LLC (9320 Lakeside Boulevard, Suite 100The Woddlands, TX, 77381, US)
International Classes:
B32B33/00; E01C9/00; E04B5/02; H05F3/02
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SMITH, Ernest, Randall (E. Randall Smith, PC2777 Allen Parkway, Suite 100, Houston TX, 77019, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
AMENDED CLAIMS

received by the International Bureau on 17 February 2019 (17.02.2019)

CLAIMS

1. An insulated, electrically groundahle, support surface for use in an equipotentiai zone proximate to the earth's surface, the support surface comprising:

a mat constructed of non-conductive material and having top and bottom faces, the mat being configured to be deployed on or near the earth's surface in the equipotentiai zone; at least one electrically-conductive cover being configured to be associated with the mat and extend at least partially across the top face of the mat, each electrically-conductive cover being constructed at least partially of electrically-conductive material and configured to capture electrical current in the equipotentiai zone and ground it to the earth: and

at least one heat shield configured to be disposed between the mat and the electrically- conductive coverfs), the heat shield(s) being configured to insulate the mat from heat generated by electric current flowing through the electrically-conductive coverfs) sufficient to prevent the mat from combusting and/or melting due to such heat,

2. The support surface of claim 1. wherein each heat shield includes at least one layer of thermal insulating material.

3. An insulated support surface comprising:

an electrically-groundable ground cover having top and bottom faces and being configured to be deployed on or near the earth's surface;

at least one electrically-conductive cover configured to be associated with the ground cover and extend at least partially across the top face of the ground cover, each electrically- conductive cover being constructed at least partially of electrically-conductive materia] and configured to capture electrical current and ground at least some of the captured electrical current to the earth; and at least one heat shield configured to be disposed at least partially between the ground cover and the at least, one electrically-conductive cover, the at least, one heat shield being configured to insulate the ground cover from heat generated by electric current flowing through the at least one electrically-conductive cover sufficient to at least prevent the ground cover from combusting and/or melting due to such heat.

4. The apparatus of claim 3 further including at least one electrically-conductive interface configured to facilitate electrical connection of the at least one electrically- conductive cover to another electrically-conductive component.

5. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein each heat shield is constructed of durable, water- resistant, all-weather material.

6. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein each heat shield is configured to withstand loads and forces placed upon the ground cover and the at least one electrically-conductive cover, and movement, deformation, expansion and contraction of the ground cover and the at least one electrically-conductive cover during use thereof.

7. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein at least one heat shield is affixed to the ground cover with one or more adhcsivcs.

8. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the at least one heat shield is configured to prevent contact between the at least one electrically-conductive cover and the ground cover.

9. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein the at least one heat shield is configured to extend across the entire top face of the ground co ver.

10. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the ground cover includes first, second, third and fourth sides and at least one edge extending along each respective side, wherein the at least one heat shield extends to each edge of the ground cover,

11. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the ground cover includes first, second, third and fourth sides and at least one edge extending along each respective side, wherein the at least one heat shield extends at least partially over or around at least one of the edges of the ground cover.

12. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the at least one electrically-conductive cover includes first, second, third and fourth sides and at least one edge extending along each respective side and the at least one head shield includes first, second, third and fourth sides and at least one edge extending along each respective side, wherein the edges of the at least one heat shield extend beyond the edges of the at least one electrically-conductive cover relative to the ground cover,

1.3. The apparatus of claim 3 further including at least one fastener extendable through the at least one electrically-conductive cover and the at least one heat shield and configured to couple the at least one electrically-conductive cover, the at least one heat shield and the ground cover together.

1.4. The apparatus of claim 13 further including a plurality of fasteners, wherein the at least one heat shield includes a plurality of through-holes each configured to allow the passage of one of the fasteners therethrough.

1.5. The apparatus of claim 1.4 wherein the width of each through-hole is greater than the width of each fastener to prevent the fasteners from binding-up with the at least one heat shield during expansion or contraction of the ground cover or relative movement between the ground cover and the at least one electrically-conductive cover.

16. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the ground cover includes at least one locking pin hole configured to accept a locking pin therein for mechanically interconnecting the ground cover to another component, further wherein the at least one electrically-conductive cover and the at least one heat shield each include at least one passageway extending therethrough and alignable over one of the respective locking pin holes of the ground cover to allow the insertion of a locking pin into the locking pin hole.

1.7. The apparatus of claim 16 wherein, the width of each passageway formed in the at least one heat shield is smaller than the width of each passageway formed in the at least, one electrically-conductive cover to assist in preventing contact between the at least one electrically-conductive cover and the ground cover.

1.8. The apparatus of claim 1.6 wherein the at least one heat shield is formed with at least one upwardly-extending lip at least partially around each passageway formed, therein and configured to extend into one of the passageways formed in the at least one electrically- conductive cover to assist in. preventing contact between the at least one electrically- conductive cover and the ground cover or a locking pin disposed within the corresponding locking pin hole of the ground cover.

19. The apparatus of claim 16 further including a plurality of pin hole plugs, each pin hole plug being constructed at least partially of non-conductive material and configured to be releasably, at least partially seated within a locking pin hole of the ground cover when a locking pin is not used in the locking pin hole and assist in preventing the flow of electric current from the electrically-conductive cover, through the locking pin hole to the earth,

20. The apparatus of claim 16 further including a plurality of pin hole plugs, each pin hole plug being constructed at least partially of non-conductive material and configured to be releasably, at least partially seated within a locking pin hole of the ground cover when a locking pin is not used in the locking pin hole and assist in preventing objects from falling into the locking pin hole and becoming a path for electrical current to pass from the electrically-conductive cover to the earth.

21. The apparatus of claim 3 further including a plurality of caps, each cap being constructed at least partially of non-conductive material and configured to he releasably, at least partially seated in one of the locking pin holes of the ground cover over the locking pin therein when a locking pin. is used in the locking pin hole and assist in preventing the flow of electric current from the electrically-conductive cover, through the locking pin to the earth,

22. The apparatus of claim. 3 wherein each, heat shield includes at least one layer of thermal insulating material.

23. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein each heat shield has a total thickness of no greater than ΒΌ inch.

24. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein each heat shield includes multiple adjacent sheets of thermal insulation.

25. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein each heat shield includes multiple at least partially overlapping sheets of thermal insulation.

26. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein each heat, shield includes a top surface and a bottom surface, wherein at least one among the top and bottom surface of at least some of the heat shields is textured.

27. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein each heat shield possesses a mesh-like configuration.

28. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein each heat shield includes one or more internal spaces configured to contain gas and/or foam.

29. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein each heat shield possesses a honeycomb-like internal configuration.

30. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein each heat shield is solid and configured to block the passage of electric current from the at least one electrically-conductive cover through openings in the ground cover below the heat shield.

31. Apparatus for electrically grounding and insulating a ground cover that is electrically connectable to at least one other electrically-conductive component, the ground cover having a top and a bottom and configured to be deployed on or near the surface of the earth, the apparatus comprising;

an upper layer constructed at least partially of electrically-conductive material and configured to he coupled to the ground cover, extend at least partially across the top of the ground cover, capture electrical current and be electrically grounded to the earth;

at least one intermediate layer configured to be disposed at least partially between the ground cover and the upper layer, the at least one intermediate layer being configured to at least partially insulate the ground cover from heat generated by electric current flowing through the upper layer; and

at least one electrically-conductive interface configured to facilitate electrical connection of the upper layer to another electrically-conductive component,

32. The apparatus of claim 31 further including at least one fastener extendable through the upper layer and the at least one intermediate layer for coupling together the upper layer, the at. least one intermediate layer and the ground cover.

33. The apparatus of claim 31 wherein the upper layer includes metallic grating configured to extend at least partially across the top of the ground cover and an outer frame coupled to the metallic grating and extending around or proximate to the perimeter of the top of the ground cover.

34. The apparatus of claim 33 wherein each electrically-conductive interface is provided on the outer frame.

35. Apparatus for insulating an electrically-groundable support surface configured to support the weight of personnel, vehicles and equipment thereon at or near the surface of the earth, the support surface including a ground cover having a top and a bottom and at least one electrically-conductive cover constructed at least partially of electrically-conductive material, extending at least partially across the top the ground cover and being electrically groundable to the earth, the apparatus comprising:

at least one heat shield including at least one layer of thermal insulating material and being positioned between the at least one electrically-conductive cover and the ground cover, the at least one heat shield being configured to insulate the ground cover from heat generated by electric current flowing through the at. least one electrically-conductive cover sufficient to prevent the ground cover from combusting and/or melting due to such heat and withstand loads and forces placed upon the ground cover and the at least one electrically-conductive cover and the movement, deformation, expansion, and contraction of the ground cover and at least one electrically-conductive cover during use thereof.

36. The apparatus of claim 35 wherein the at. least one heat shield extends across the entire top of the ground cover.

37. The apparatus of claim 35 further including at least one fastener extendable through the at least one electrically-conductive cover and the at least one heat shield and into the ground cover to couple the at least, one electrically-conductive cover, the at least one heat shield and the ground cover together.

38. The apparatus of claim 35 wherein the at least one electrically-conductive cover, the at least one heat shield and the ground cover are planar.

39. The apparatus of claim 35 wherein each heat shield is constructed of durable, water- resistant, all-weather material.

40. The apparatus of claim 35 wherein at least one heat shield is affixed to the ground cover with one or more adhesives.

41. An insulated, electrically-groundable support surface for use on or near the earth's surface, the support surface comprising:

a mat having top and bottom surfaces, the mat being configured to be deployed on or near the surface of the earth;

an electrically-conductive cover constructed at least partially of electrically- conductive material, associated with the mat and having at least one inner panel configured to extend at least partially across the top surface of the mat and be electrically grounded to the earth; and

at least one heat shield configured to be disposed at least partially between the mat and the electrically-conductive cover, the at least one heat shield being configured to insulate the ground cover from heat generated by electric current flowing through the electrically- conductive cover sufficient to at least prevent the mat from combusting and/or melting due to such heat.

42. The support surface of claim 41 further including at least one electrically-conductive interface configured to facilitate electrical connection of the electrically-conductive cover to another electrically-conductive component.

43. The support surface of claim 41. wherein the mat, electrically-conductive cover and at least one heat shield are planar, further including at least one fastener for coupling the electrically-conductive cover and at least one heat shield to the mat.

44. A method of electrically insulating an electrically-conductive support, surface, the method comprising;

positioning an electrically-conductive cover at least partially across a top surface of a ground cover, the ground cover being configured to be deployed on or near the surface of the earth;

positioning at least one heat shield at. least partially between the electrically- conductive cover and the ground cover:

the electrically-conductive cover capturing electrical current; and

the at least one heat shield insulating the ground cover from heat generated by electric current flowing through the electrically-conductive cover.

45. The method of claim 44 further including grounding the electrically-conducti ve cover to the earth.

46. A method of assembling and grounding an insulated support surface configured to be deployed on or near the surface of the earth, the method comprising: positioning at least one heat shield at least partially across the top of the support surface;

attaching at least one electrically-conductive cover to the support surface over the at least one heat shield, the at. least one electrically-conductive cover being configured to capture electrical in the vicinity of the support surface, the at least one heat, shield being configured to insulate the support surface from heat generated by electric current flowing through the at least one electrically-conductive cover sufficient to at least partially prevent the ground cover from combusting and/or melting due to such heat; and

grounding the at least one electrically-conductive cover to the earth.

47. The method of claim 46 further including attaching the at least one heat shield to the support surface,

48. A method of insulating and electrically connecting at least two mats arranged in a reusable load- supporting surface deployed on or near the earth's surface, the mats having top and bottom surfaces, the method comprising:

positioning at least one among a plurality of electrically-conductive covers at least partially across the top surface of each mat, each electrically-conductive cover being configured to capture electrical current in the vicinity of the mat. associated therewith;

positioning at least one heat shield at least partially between each mat and the mat's associated electrically-conductive cover(s), the at least one heat shield being configured to insulate its associated mat from heat generated by electric current flowing through the associated electrically-conductive cover(s) sufficient to prevent the mat from combusting and/or melting due to such heat: and electrically coupling at least one conductive interface associated with at least one electrically-conductive cover of each mat to at least one conductive interface associated with at least one electrically-conductive cover of another mat to electrically couple the mats together.

49. The method of claim 48 further including coupling each electrically-conductive cover to its associated mat,

50. The method of claim 49 further including grounding at least one electrically- conductive cover to the earth.