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Title:
FLOATING EARTHQUAKE PROOF STRUCTURE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2004/005652
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present innovation refers to a method of construction of various types of building structures that have no solid attachment to the ground. Excavations and permanent landscape changes are not needed. Infrastructure works are not necessitated because the structures float inside shallow constructed basins with water, acquiring thus full protection from earthquakes and a capability to rotate, to move sideways, to be light weight, to be disassembled and to be transported to different points together with the mechanically made ponds-basins.

Inventors:
Anagnostopoulos, Panagiotis (362 Tatoiou St, Acharnae, Athens, GR-136 71, GR)
Application Number:
PCT/GR2003/000027
Publication Date:
January 15, 2004
Filing Date:
July 04, 2003
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
Anagnostopoulos, Panagiotis (362 Tatoiou St, Acharnae, Athens, GR-136 71, GR)
International Classes:
B63B35/44; E04H9/02; (IPC1-7): E04H9/02; B63B35/44
Domestic Patent References:
WO1999020521A1
Foreign References:
DE19543195A1
US3748800A
EP0253969A1
BG2200872A
US5704731A
US3664286A
US5421282A
US5524549A
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Claims:
CLAIMS
1. Method of construction of a floating structure with earthquake proof behavior, without solid attachment to the ground, with the capacity to rotate, that is characterized by the fact that the structure floats within an elevated basin (5) whose weight support footings (8) have the capacity to adjust to the inclined ground slope as well as to simultaneously adjust and vary their distance from the ground level, achieving floatation with the utilization of a floating support base (19) upon which the building structure rests (1) made of compact material having smaller specific weight than water, that at points of the structure that are being loaded with greater weight the floating support base can have greater thickness (19) in the support buoyant material, being capable for the floating support base to consist of concentric segments (Figure 2) that can rotate independently with respect to one another, being possible for the structure to be comprised of multiple stories where each one is provided with a basin at its base so that it can rotate independently from the other stories, being capable for the floater support base to be airtight and to bear in its perimeter and in other concentric positions one or multiple thin circumferential rings that extend downwards and enter within respective in number thin water channels (11) that are located along the whole circumferential length creating thus air tightness in the space between the floating support base and the basin (54) and between them, being capable for each space to be filled up with air of the same or different pressure, so as to substitute the lack or the loss of water and therefore the structure experiencing the respective pressure to be held in an elevated position, being capable for the structure and the floating support base to be immobilized at the desired position after the revolution of the structure by the activation of cylinders (30) that connect the floating support base to the basin, which floating support base, that is also the base of the structure, can maintain its rigidity because it is not subjected to fatigue bending moment loads because the evenly distributed buoyancy generated by the floatation as well as alternatively the pressure of the entrapped air contribute to the structure's rigidity, being capable for the floating support base to be supported through sliding rollers, positioned in arrangements of concentric rings, so that when excess weight is loaded on, not to sink more, but to rest onto the rollers, being capable for this function, when it is supported on the entrapped air, to be activated with adjustment in the pressure setting level, so that the floater support base starts resting on the rollers with the weight percentage level needed, achieving the earthquake proof behavior of the structure and basin, with the positioning of the appropriate number and of necessitated rigidity value compression or tension springs (62), that are positioned between the upper parts of the footings (85) and the lower part (86) of the basin structure, where for the case of the installation of tension springs their upper end is attached to a horizontal access arm length (60) that protrudes from the upper end of the footings, and their lower end is connected to access arm lengths (61) of the same shape of symmetric arrangement, that are supported to the lower part of the structure of the basin, the structure and the basin thus being capable, due to the fact that they are supported on springs whose extended support is to the ground, to Sain protection from horizontal seismic disturbances, via their movement in a pendulum type oscillation that the springs undergo, being protected also from vertical disturbances, which kinetic energy is being absorbed by the spring extension or compression, the structure and the float support base having an additional safeguard mechanism from horizontal seismic components through their floatation on water or their support on a layer of air, where in both cases the side movement of the ground and of the footings does not affect them, achieving the positioning of the structure at the center of the basin through its encirclement by a series of safety pins (64) that can break in a controlled manner and that rest on the basin structure and are made of copper, which the wind intensity level is not strong enough to sever and to move as a result the building structure, in case though of an earthquake it is possible for some of these safety pins to be cut that have strength close to the intensity limits of the earthquake amplitude that can get subsequently replaced, being capable for the building to rotate by 360°, as well as to be installed as a next floor level on existing structures, affecting little the earthquake proof behavior of the existing structure because it is not partaking and remains unaffected to possible earthquake excitations.
2. Method as described in Claim 1 that is characterized by the fact that the material of smaller than water specific weight (19) that is subjected to buoyancy and creates the floatation of the structure could be expanded polyurethane, extruded polystyrene or other similar type material.
3. Method as described in Claim 1 that is characterized by the fact that the base can consist of multiple concentric ring sections that rotate independently one from another so as to bring themselves to suitable positions for loading/unloading, as in the application for areas used for parking automobiles, warehouses etc.
4. Method as described in Claim 1 that is characterized by the fact that protection of the floating structure from earthquakes is assured by its retainment at the necessary circumferential distance from the edges of the basin, so that during earthquake activity, the amplitude of the movement of the edges of the basin can find enough clearance space so that the edges do not collide with the floating building that is held in that safety position, at the center of the basin, by copper safety pins (64) that resist such motion and hold it in case of strong wind, whereas in case of an earthquake as many are severed proportionally to the strength of the earthquake.
5. Method as described in Claim 1 that is characterized by the fact that the footings (8) have a variable adjustment length (height) and are equipped with a suitable mechanism that is controlled by the resident of the building who has the capability to vary simultaneously the length of the footings (8), and as a result the distance of the building structure from the ground, according to the desire of the resident.
6. Method as described in Claim 1 that is characterized by the fact that because of the capability of the floater base structure to incorporate sections with a different submersible depth (19), it is achieved that the appropriate level of buoyancy intensity is attained at these points, so as to counterbalance the different loads that the floating base structure accepts or of the contained on it articles, achieving thus a natural leveling of the floater base structure.
7. A floating building structure with earthquake proof behavior, without solid attachment to the ground, with the capacity to rotate, that is characterized by the fact that the structure floats within an elevated basin (5) whose weight support footings (8) have the capacity to adjust to the inclined ground slope as well as to simultaneously adjust and vary their distance from the ground level, achieving floatation with the utilization of a floating support base (19) on which the building structure rests (1) made of compact material having smaller specific weight than water, that at points of the structure that are being loaded with greater weight the floating support base can have greater thickness (19) in the support buoyant material being capable for the floater support base to consist of concentric segments (Figure 2) that can rotate independently with respect to one another, being possible for the structure to be comprised of multiple stories where each one is provided with a basin at its base so that it can rotate independently from the other stories, being capable for the floating support base to be airtight and to bear in its perimeter and in other concentric positions one or multiple thin circumferential rings that extend downwards and enter within respective in number thin water channels (11) that are located along the whole circumferential length creating thus air tightness in the space between the floating support base and the basin (54) and between them, being capable for each space to be filled up with air of the same or different pressure, so as to substitute the lack or the loss of water and therefore the structure experiencing the respective pressure to be held in an elevated position, being capable for the structure and the floating support base to be immobilized at the desired position after the revolution of the structure by the activation of cylinders (30) that connect the floater support base to the basin, which floating support base, that is also the base of the structure, can maintain its rigidity because it is not subjected to fatigue bending moment loads because the evenly distributed buoyancy generated by the floatation as well as alternatively the pressure of the entrapped air contribute to the structure's rigidity, being capable for the floating support base to be supported through sliding rollers, positioned in arrangements of concentric rings, so that when excess weight is loaded on, not to sink more, but to rest onto the rollers, being capable for this function, when it is supported on the entrapped air, to be activated with adjustment in the pressure setting level, so that the floating support base starts resting on the rollers with the weight percentage level needed, achieving the earthquake proof behavior of the structure and basin, with the positioning of the appropriate number and of necessitated rigidity value compression or tension springs (62), that are positioned between the upper parts of the footings (85) and the lower part of the basin structure (86), where for the case of the installation of tension springs their upper end is attached to a horizontal access arm length (60) that protrudes from the upper end of the footings, and their lower end is connected with access arm lengths (PI) of the same shape of symmetric arrangement, that are supported to the lower part of the structure of the basin, the structure and the basin thus being capable, due to the fact that they are supported on springs whose extended support is to the ground, to gain protection from horizontal seismic disturbances, via their movement in a pendulum type oscillation that the springs undergo, being protected also from vertical disturbances, which kinetic energy is being absorbed by the spring extension or compression, the structure and the floating support base having an additional safeguard mechanism from horizontal seismic components through their floatation on water or their support on a layer of air, where in both cases the side movement of the ground and of the footings does not affect them, achieving the positioning of the structure at the center of the basin through its encirclement by a series of safety pins (64) that can break in a controlled manner and that rest on the basin structure and are made of copper, which the wind intensity level is not strong enough to sever and to move as a result the building structure, in case though of an earthquake it is possible for some of these safety pins to be cut that have strength close to the intensity limits of the earthquake amplitude that can get subsequently replaced, being capable for the building to rotate by 360°, as well as to be installed as a next floor level on existing structures, affecting little the earthquake proof behavior of the existing structure because it is not partaking and remains unaffected to possible earthquake excitations.
8. Building structure as described in Claim 1 that is characterized by the fact that the material of smaller than water specific weight (19) that is subjected to buoyancy and creates the floatation of the structure could be expanded polyurethane, extruded polystyrene or other similar type material.
9. Building structure as described in Claim 1 that is characterized by the fact that the base can consist of multiple concentric ring sections that rotate independently one from another so as to bring themselves to suitable positions for loading/unloading, as in the application for areas used for parking automobiles, warehouses etc.
10. Building structure as described in Claim 1 that is characterized by the fact that protection of the floating structure from earthquakes is assured by its retainment at the necessary circumferential distance from the edges of the basin, so that during earthquake activity, the amplitude of the movement of the edges of the basin can find enough clearance space so that the edges do not collide with the floating building that is held in that safety position, at the center of the basin, by copper safety pins (64) that resist such motion and hold it in case of strong wind, whereas in case of an earthquake as many are severed proportionally to the strength of the earthquake.
11. Building structure as described in Claim 1 that is characterized by the fact that the footings (8) have a variable adjustment length (height) and are equipped with a suitable mechanism that is controlled by the resident of the building who has the capability to vary simultaneously the length of the footings (8), and as a result the distance of the building structure from the ground, according to the desire of the resideS.
12. Building structure as described in Claim 1 that is characterized by the fact that because of the capability of the floater base structure to incorporate sections with a different submersible depth (19), it is achieved that the appropriate level of buoyancy intensity is attained at these points, so as to counterbalance the different loads that the floater base structure accepts or of the contained on it articles, achieving thus a natural leveling of the floater base structure.
Description:
FLOATING EARTHQUAKE PROOF STRUCTURE TECHNICAL SCOPE OF THE INVENTION The present innovation refers to a method of construction of various types of building structures that have no solid attachment to the ground. Excavations and permanent landscape changes are not needed. Infrastructure works are not necessitated because the structures float inside shallow constructed basins with water, acquiring thus full protection from earthquakes and a capability to rotate, to move sideways, to be light weight, to be disassembled and to be transported to different points together with the mechanically made ponds-basins.

STATE OF THE ART Floating structures that have been presented in the past have as an objective the possibility of developing installations (living quarters, office space, warehousing space), on top of the sea, lakes, and rivers. Invention W09920521 describes a complex building installation that includes living quarters, recreational rooms and dining facilities. This installation is a floating one on natural volumes of water and has the capability to move from place to place over the sea. To function properly it is strongly attached to the seabed.

Similar is also the usage of the building that is described in innovation EP0253969.

In the present innovation the building has been erected on a platform that is anchored to the sea floor. Innovations BG2200872, US5704731 and US3664286 describe a floating airport, a floating drilling platform and a floating warehouse, all of which are anchored to the sea bed.

The inventions numbered as US5421282 and US5524549 describe floating islands that are composed of autonomous units. These units have the capability to get connected to each other so as to create an integrated floating surface.

It is evident that all the above mentioned constructions aim either in the usage of sea areas to erect building installations, or in the development of installations to carry out necessary works in the sea. The aim of this innovation that is below described is to construct a building on solid ground and not on sea or on a lake.

The distinguishing feature of the building lies in the fact that its support is not fixed but it is on water. The following entities describe the construction method of such a structure.

PRESENTATION OF THE FIGURES : Figure 1: General arrangement of the floating structure.

Figure 2: Concentric rings that rotate independently from one another.

Figure 3: Support of the structure on a volume of air with a watertight circumferential seal.

Figure 4: Pistons to immobilize the structure on the basin.

Figure 5: Spring composed suspension of the structure on the ground.

Figure 6: Copper safety pins for the restriction of the movement of the building structure.

REVELATION OF THE INNOVATION The aim of the present innovation is to present a construction method of a building that is situated on earth but floats within an artificial basin with liquid. This building is completely unaffected by earthquakes, is lighter than comparable conventional buildings, it is very easy either to erect or to disassemble and to transport and it is capable of rotating around its vertical axis in the horizontal plane, thus serving bioclimatic objectives.

The general idea of this structure is shown in Figure 1, where the structure's sectional view is presented. In this Figure we can distinguish the components parts that comprise the structure.

The basin (5) is a watertight construction made of metallic elements or concrete or other suitable flexible material. Its aim is to contain water or other liquid on which the structure (1) will float. It is possible to construct the basin from elements that can be easily assembled, so as to facilitate its assembly/disassembly and its transportation.

The floor is laid directly on top of the base-floater support structure (19). The level surface of the water forces the base-floater support structure and the superimposed floor to also be level. This method makes use of the property of water as a means for maintaining floor levelness. Thus, it is not necessary to have a rigid floor but rather a flexible one that acquires levelness. due to the presence of water.

The floater support base can consist of material of smaller specific weight than water (19).

The basin has the capacity to be supported on the ground with two ways: One way is for the total lower basin surface to be fully in contact with the ground.

If the ground contour is level, the basin can be situated directly on the ground. If the basin is constructed of concrete or similarly poured in situ material, this material can acquire the irregular shape of the landscape, while the internal basin surface that will accept the liquid, will be constructed level.

The second way to support the basin is the following one: The basin is supported on footings that have the capability to adjust in length (height), as shown in Figure 1.

First, the height of the footings is adjusted according to the terrain shape so that the basin can be maintained in a horizontal position. There exists though also the capability to adjust the height at any moment. On each footing a mechanism is situated that is controlled from within the building. Thus, all the footings ascend or descend simultaneously according to the residents'desires. They serve different needs as the avoidance of fire or flood.

The base-floater can also be supported on the footings through springs (25). The purpose of the support on springs is to absorb the earthquake in case the building structure is installed in earthquake prone areas.

To this aim, the arrangement of Figure 5 is used that essentially"suspends"the basin on the ground. The arm (60) is an extension of the footing (8) that is solidly attached to the ground. The arm (61) is situated in the lower part of the basin and is connected to the arm (60) through a compression spring (62). Thus, the building can move in a pendulum fashion due to its attachment at points 85 and 86. The springs can absorb the vertical and horizontal components of the earthquake disturbances, leaving the basin containing the water and the building structure unaffected.

The floater support base is the base (19) of the structure and can have the shape of any solid, with its internal part void or filled with materials of smaller specific weight than water. When the base is situated inside the liquid, a buoyancy force is created over the whole base. It is possible for the base to not have a flat surface in its lower part, but to present different depths at certain points, as shown in Figure 1 (19). So these points can have a smaller or greater buoyancy that will correspond to the weight distribution of the structure in the corresponding points.

Thus, the levelness of the upper part of the base is ensured with the equilibrium of the weight and buoyancy forces and not as it is customarily done by the usage of heavy and expensive rigid structures. On this principle rests the aim of the present innovation.

The floater support base can be comprised of multiple curved basins which are connected to each other.

Within the basin, enough liquid is poured (11) so that the base will float. On top of the base a structure is constructed (1) -house, office, commercial space, warehouse, industrial space, parking, etc. It is characteristic that the smallest possible amount of liquid required is used in order to produce the necessary buoyancy, because the clearance between the basin and the base of the structure is relatively small.

Depending on the construction materials that are used for the basin and the floater support base, it may be necessary to use waterproof coatings (4) on the surfaces that come into contact with the liquid so as to avoid leakage of the liquid.

Through its floating base, the building structure acquires full protection from horizontal movements due to earthquakes, because the building structure remains unmoved while at the same time the basin follows the movements as the ground.

As the danger of collision between the base and the basin always exists, either due to the strength of the wind or due to the earthquake forces, the mechanism of Figure 6 has been invented. The arms (63) are located radially, on the perimeter , of the basin and are constructed of steel. In the holes there exist a series of copper safety pins (64) that can break off easily. When the building moves due to the wind, the safety pins keep it in place. <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> <P> When the basin-floater support base (19) moves due to a seismic disturbance, it<BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> will collide onto one or two of the closest to it safety pins, breaking them off. Thus, the safety pins that break protect the building by absorbing the kinetic energy.

These safety pins are easily replaceable for future usage.

In the various points of the floater support base there exist cylinders that are activated and push against the basin (30), Figure 4. In this way, vertical forces are generated that slightly raise the building thus immobilizing it. As a result, possible movement variations or slope change caused by the shift of the center of gravity of the structure are avoided.

An additional possibility of support and revolution of the structure is the following : It concerns the support of the structure on a layer of air with an airtight enclosure composed of a suitable outer water basin. This method is shown in Figure 3. The base (56) is not used as a floater support base, but as an airtight diaphragm that rests on a certain volume of air. In the floater support base circumference (56) there exists a hoop (52) with vertical sidewalls that is inserted into an similarly shaped basin that contains water (53).

As the hoop is inserted into the liquid, it creates an airtight encapsulation of the contained air volume that, being at a suitable pressure, supports the building structure and allows its rotation as the hoop moves inside the basin. The air that is entrapped between the floater support base and the basin acts as a suspension of the floater support base (and by extension of the building). Thus, the building rests entirely on the entrapped air and the liquid acts as a fully airtight diaphragm without causing friction on the hoop.

This support method allows the easy revolution of the building, as the greater part of the weight of the building rests on top of the entrapped air. A small part of the weight rests on rollers that facilitate also the revolution, prohibiting one-sided sloping of the structure. The space between the floater support base and the basin can be separated into multiple concentric rings. Additionally, there exist between them rings and thin rounded basins of water so that complete air tightness exists between them, where each space does not communicate with its neighboring one. Thus, we place a different level of pressure in each compartment, proportional to the weight of the corresponding point. With this method we create an equilibration between the weight and the reaction forces due to the air pressure. The floor of the structure does not experience different pressures at its different points that would tend to bend it. This helps any sizeable structure not to demand the construction of a proportionally, strong, heavy and expensive support surface.

The revolution can be used dynamically, so that certain objectives can be attained.

With the installation of a suitable mechanism (20), the revolution is controllable.

The rotational speed and the direction of rotation can be easily set so as to meet the residents'needs. Thus, the building structure can be adjusted so that certain part of it can trace the position of the sun or avoid it or the direction of the wind or change position randomly, according to the desires of the residents. Thus, bioclimatic needs are met.

In case the structure is used as an industrial or warehousing facility or automobile parking or for any other purpose, the revolution capability can be used to bring each building door in line with a loading/unloading platform. There could exist only one such loading/unloading platform, where the doors of the structure are moved to the platform position to bring in or out materials. Thus, the movements of personnel and materials inside the space are greatly facilitated while warehousing space is saved that is otherwise used for wide corridors.

The floating base can be easily subdivided into concentric rings each with an autonomous movement capability. The surface of each cylinder is used for the storage of merchandise, automobile parking, etc. It also is provided with access corridors. With the suitable revolutions of the rings their access can be brought in line with the article that is to be moved (inwards or outwards), as shown in Figure 2 and thus achieve the article motion without the need of permanent corridors.

With this method valuable storage space is gained that is now permanently used as corridor space.

The rotational capability of the building structure can also be used to orient the building in the direction of the smallest aerodynamic resistance in cases of strong wind. Positioning a vertical fin along the direction the building experiences the smallest aerodynamic resistance, the building will always be oriented in the direction of the wind.

If water is used for the floatation of the building, the quantity of stored water can be used for firefighting in case of an emergency.

ADVANTAGES OF THE INNOVATION The non-permanent attachment of the building to the ground and the capability that the building has to rotate or move sideways with respect to the ground, impart to it many advantages.

Of major importance is its lack of earthquake stress loading on the building structure. Its base, and consequently the building, does not have a permanent attachment to the ground. Thus, when the earth shakes, the generated forces are not transmitted to the structure, because they are absorbed by the liquid that is located within the basin (11) and from the springs (25) onto which the basin is supported. During an earthquake, the forces that are exerted on the springs change in direction each time. As a result they are nullified and the structure remains intact in the same position as before the earthquake.

One of the advantages of this type of foundation is the even distribution of the loads that exist on top of the building structure with respect to the ground. The distribution of the loads on the base can be entirely random. The transfer of the load through the liquid is uniform and is distributed so over the whole surface of the base of the basin and consequently to the ground.

The building erection and foundation laying method that is herein described can easily be used to add more floors onto existing buildings. This method does not burden the existing building in case of seismic disturbance, and for this reason it is the ideal solution for the installation of floors onto existing buildings. The building that floats is merely positioned on top of the existing building and acts entirely autonomously. With our method it is possible to build one or multiple storey buildings, where on the roof of each individual building it is possible to situate an extra basin and within it to place the respective floater support base and building structure. Each floor is autonomous and can rotate independently from the other floors, while at the same time keeping all the advantages of this particular construction method.

DESCRIPTION OF THE OPERATION A possible embodiment of the above is the following : After deciding on the construction location for the floating structure, the support method of the basin to the ground is chosen. The ground can retain its natural state. On the chosen site the basin is assembled and located. If the ground is rough and inaccessible, the footings of adjustable height are used. If the ground is flat, the parts of the basin are assembled in contact with the ground. It is also possible to pour the basin of concrete or other suitable material.

The basin is built watertight and airtight. At the same time, the floater support base is assembled that is covered up or is already so by waterproof material. It is positioned inside the basin and the clearance is filled up with water. Water is added until the base reaches a desired height or/and there is the necessary buoyancy to provide floatation to the structure.

The same building is constructed on top of a base-floater support base, from easy to assemble construction elements. External walls are installed, the roof, and the internal subdivisions. Also, electricity, water and sewage utilities are provided.

Following, the mechanism that rotates the building is installed.