Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR ERECTING BUILDING STRUCTURES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1996/006242
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A building structure is made by wall panels (24) interconnected by column connectors (10). Wall caps (44, 58) support floor panels (34) which have cavities to form headers (82) and purlins (74). Rebar (72) and concrete is placed into selected wall panels and floor forms. Additional wall panels and floor forms are erected thereon to form subsequent stories. A containment structure is made by panels (210) interconnected by column connectors (224, 234), generating a dual wall shell (262). The panels and column connectors are fused together by passing electrical current through conductors (246) at interconnection points, raising the temperature to melt the material. Rebar (276, 278) and concrete are placed in the shell. A bridge is made by forms (310) assembled at a terminal location, elevated, suspended upon cables (374) passing between two locations, and pulled to sequentially engage previously positioned forms until the forms extend between the two locations. The forms are filled with rebar (372) and concrete and provide an exterior finished surface.

Inventors:
Majnaric, Anton B.
Bjerke, William M.
Application Number:
PCT/US1995/010512
Publication Date:
February 29, 1996
Filing Date:
August 18, 1995
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
MAJNARIC TECHNOLOGIES, INC.
International Classes:
E04B2/00; E01D11/00; E01D19/12; E01D21/06; E04B1/16; E04B2/38; E04B2/42; E04B2/44; E04B2/52; E04B5/36; E04B7/20; E04C3/28; E04C3/36; E04C5/04; E04G9/05; E04G9/10; E04B2/02; E04B2/86; (IPC1-7): E04B2/00; E01D11/00; E01D19/12; E01D21/06; E04B2/42; E04B2/44; E04C5/04; E04G9/05; E04G9/10
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is claimed is.
1. A building structure, comprising: a first plurality of wall panels; a second plurality of column connectors interposed between and among selected ones of said wall panels and interconnecting said selected ones of said wall panels; a third plurality of wall caps extending over top surfaces of said wall panels and column connectors; and a fourth plurality of floor form assemblies received by and extending from said wall caps.
2. The building structure according to claim 1, wherein each said wall panel comprises a pair of spaced apart skins interconnected by spacers extending longitudinally therebetween, said spacers defining longitudinal cavities between said skins.
3. The building structure according to claim 2, wherein said skins comprise finished wall surfaces.
4. The building structure according to claim 2, wherein said spacers comprise planar sheets.
5. The building structure according to claim 4, wherein said spacers comprise pairs of said planar sheets intersecting each other intermediate said pair of skins.
6. The building structure according to claim 2, wherein said column connectors are elongated and of rectangular cross section, being defined by four interconnected side plates.
7. The building structure according to claim 6, wherein said column connectors further comprise channel members extending laterally along certain corners thereof in interconnection with connector channels along lateral ends of said wall panels.
8. The building structure according to claim 2, wherein certain of said wall caps have apertures therein, certain of said apertures communicating with an inner cavity of an associated column connector and others of said apertures communicating with said cavities defined by said spacers.
9. The building structure according to claim 8, wherein said apertures of said wall caps receive concrete therethrough for deposit in said cavities between said spacers and panel skins and within said column connectors.
10. The building structure according to claim 9, wherein rebar extends between aligned column connectors through said apertures associated therewith.
11. The building structure according to claim 2, wherein said floor form assemblies comprise a pair of spaced apart skins interconnected with longitudinally extending panel spacers.
12. The building structure according to claim 11, wherein said floor form assemblies further comprise longitudinally extending header forms in alignment with supporting wall panels, said header forms defined by certain of said panel spacers.
13. The building structure according to claim 12, wherein said floor form assemblies further comprise longitudinally extending purlin forms.
14. The building structure according to claim 2, wherein said spacers have tear drop shaped slots therein for receiving and supporting rebar passing therethrough.
15. The building structure according to claim 2, further comprising a roof panel anchored to a wall panel, said roof panel having an insulated inner section and having a gutter connected to an exterior peripheral edge.
16. A method for erecting a building comprising: (a) interconnecting a plurality of wall panels to each other through a plurality of column connectors; (b) placing wall caps upon top surface portions of said interconnected wall panels and column connectors; (c) connecting floor panel forms to said wall caps, said floor panel forms having cavities for forming headers over supporting wall panels and purlins between said supporting wall panels; (d) filing selected ones of said wall panels with concrete, filling said purlin and header cavities with said concrete, and covering a top surface of said floor panel forms to a predetermined level with concrete, thereby defining a first story of the building; and (e) repeating steps (ad) to define each desired subsequent floor.
17. A building structure, comprising: an inner wall formed of a first plurality of panels joined together along lateral edges thereof by first column connectors, said inner wall forming a closure; an outer wall formed of a second plurality of panels joined together along lateral edges thereof by second column connectors, said outer wall forming a closure about said inner wall; and means interposed between said inner and outer walls for defining a rigid structure therebetween.
18. The building structure according to claim 17, wherein each said panel comprises a pair of parallel interconnected face plates having pairs of channel connectors extending along each of two vertical ends thereof.
19. The building structure according to claim 18, wherein said first and second column connectors comprise elongated members having a leg extending from each of four corners thereof, each leg engaging one of said channel connectors.
20. The building structure according to claim 19, wherein said inner and outer walls are formed from vertically stacked and aligned panels respectively interconnected with vertically stacked and aligned first and second column connectors.
21. The building structure according to claim 19, further comprising gaskets interposed between each of said vertically stacked and aligned panels and between each of said vertically stacked and aligned column connectors.
22. The building structure according to claim 21, wherein said channel connectors of said panels and said legs of said column connectors are of a heat fusible material.
23. The building structure according to claim 21, wherein each of said channel connectors and legs of said column connectors has an electrical conductor passing therethrough, said electrical conductors heating and melting said heat fusible material of associated channel connectors and legs of said column connectors in response to electrical current passing therethrough.
24. The building structure according to claim 20, wherein pairs of legs of said column connectors are of different lengths, such difference in lengths defining a radius of curvature of said inner and outer walls.
25. The building structure according to claim 24, wherein said legs of said pairs of legs of said column connectors closer to an interior of said closure are shorter then said legs of said pairs of legs of said column connectors further from said interior.
26. The building structure according to claim 20, further comprising panels extending between said inner and outer walls between selected ones of said first and second column connectors.
27. The building structure according to claim 26, wherein said first and second column connectors each have an additional leg extending from each of two corners thereof, said additional legs engaging channel connectors on opposite sides of said panels extending between said inner and outer walls.
28. The building structure according to claim 27, further comprising rebar extending between said first and second walls.
29. A method for erecting a building structure, comprising: interconnecting a first plurality of panels to each other along lateral edges thereof by interconnecting such panels with first column connectors to form a first layer of a closure; interconnecting a second plurality of panels to each other along lateral edges thereof by interconnecting such panels with first column connectors to form a second layer of said closure, said panels of said second layer being positioned atop said panels of said first layer and said column connectors of said second layer being positioned atop said column connectors of said first layer; and bonding said first column connectors to said lateral edges of associated panels.
30. The method according to claim 29, further comprising the steps of: interconnecting a third plurality of panels to each other along lateral edges thereof by interconnecting such panels with second column connectors to form a first layer of a second closure in juxtaposition to said first layer of said first closure; interconnecting a fourth plurality of panels to each other along lateral edges thereof by interconnecting such panels with second column connectors to form a second layer of said second closure, said panels of said first layer of said second closure and said column connectors of said second layer of said second closure being positioned atop said column connectors of said first layer of said second closure; and bonding said second column to said lateral edges of associated panels.
31. Apparatus for bridge construction, comprising: a bottom form having first locking means at opposite lateral edges thereof for engaging a laterally adjacent bottom form, and having second locking means at longitudinal edges thereof from engaging a longitudinal adjacent bottom form; a support rod laterally traversing and engaging said bottom form; and a plurality of cables extending longitudinally of said bottom form, engaging said support rod and suspending said bottom form.
32. The apparatus according to claim 31, wherein said bottom form comprises a base having walls extending upwardly therefrom, said walls having apertures for receiving said support rod.
33. The apparatus according to claim 32, wherein said walls extend longitudinally of said base and said support rod extends between said walls.
34. The apparatus according to claim 31, wherein said first locking means comprises first channel members extending along said lateral edges.
35. The apparatus according to claim 34, further comprising second channel members adapted for matingly engaging a pair of abutting first channel members of laterally adjacent bottom forms.
36. The apparatus according to claim 31, wherein said second locking means comprise a plurality of slots passing through a base of said bottom form, and further comprising section joiners adapted for engaging said slots of longitudinally adjacent bottom forms.
37. The apparatus according to claim 36, wherein each said section joiner comprises a center wall extending from a base, and deflectable tabs extending from said wall and adapted to engage said slots.
38. The apparatus according to claim 31, further comprising a wall adapted for mating engagement with said first locking means, said wall having means for engaging said support rod.
39. The apparatus according to claim 38, wherein said means for engaging said support rod comprises a channel longitudinally traversing said wall and receiving said cap, said cap engaging said support rod.
40. The apparatus according to claim 38, wherein said bottom form has a base having a void area longitudinally traversing said base, and wherein said wall has a void traversing a lower corner portion thereof.
41. The method of constructing a bridge, comprising: stringing a plurality of cable between first and second locations; suspending a first bottom form from said cables at said first location; transporting said first bottom form across said cables from said first location toward said second location; suspending a second bottom form from said cables at said first location; and transporting said second bottom form across said cables from said first location toward said second location and into interengagement with said firs bottom form.
42. The method according to claim 41, further comprising the steps of suspending and passing subsequent bottom forms across said cables until interconnected bottom forms extend from said second location to said first location.
43. The method according to claim 42, further comprising the step of filling said interconnected bottom forms with concrete.
Description:
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR ERECTING BUILDING STRUCTURES

TECHNICAL FIELD The invention herein resides in the art of building structures such as storage buildings and bridges and, more particularly, to such structures which employ forms for the fabrication of such buildings and bridges from concrete in situ. More particularly, the invention relates to such a building structure which may be easily assembled with a minimal assortment of duplicative building components and wherein forms used to pour concrete or other construction media form an integral part of the final building Specifically, the invention relates to an apparatus and technique by which a plurality of panel and column assemblies are interconnected and subsequently filled with concrete and wherein the panel skins are allowed to remain upon final cure of the concrete and insulation, such panel skins providing the finished surface of portions of the erected structure. The invention also provides forms assembled at one location and transported across supporting cables to an opposite location until the forms extend between the two locations, wherein the forms are subsequently filled with concrete or the like.

BACKGROUND ART

It has previously been known to erect buildings on-site by means of custom fabrication. However, such techniques have been found to be time consuming and costly. Such custom building techniques and apparatus have given way to prefabrication which, in general, has required the fabrication off-site of prefabricated wall and floor panels which are subsequently interconnected on-site to erect the structural framework and the like. While the techniques and apparatus employed in these prefabrication practices have generally reduced the time and cost incident to the erection of a building, further improvements in such reduction are desired. Additionally, such known techniques and apparatus have generally not taught that the panel members employed for forming the prefabricated subassemblies may remain as finished surfaces of the final assembly.

Additionally, there is a significant need for containment and storage facilities for receiving and maintaining hazardous waste - - that material deemed harmful to the environment and its inhabitants. Such containment structures are necessary to prevent such waste from entering either the atmosphere above or the surrounding earth below. In that regard, such structures must be air and liquid tight, preventing such undesired escape. No known structure is given to ease of construction while providing an environmentally sound containment structure. Indeed, such a structure may be attained, as the invention will disclose, through the fabrication of a concrete structure in which the forms used for practicing the construction technique remain as an integral part of the finished structure.

There is also a need in the art for an apparatus and technique by which a bridge may be caused to span between two locations, and wherein the activity of bridge construction is primarily undertaken at those locations, and not in the space between them. There is additionally a need in the art for an apparatus and method for bridge construction which allows for the use of pre-made forms of a standard interlocking nature which may be quickly joined together and suspended from cables between two distant locations to provide a completed form to receive concrete and the like.

The prior art has been substantially devoid of techniques and apparatus by which structural forms may be erected on-site and subsequently filled with concrete or other setting material for development of the structure substantially totally on-site.

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION In light of the foregoing, it is a first aspect of the invention to provide a method and apparatus for erecting building structures in which a plurality of building panels may be interconnected on-site and subsequently filled with concrete or the like in-situ.

Another aspect of the invention is to provide a method and apparatus for erecting building structures in which the structural panels includes skins which

confine the concrete during pour, and which also serve as the finished surfaces of the building.

Yet another aspect of the invention is to provide a method and apparatus for erecting building structures which accommodates a continuous pour of concrete on-site.

Still an additional aspect of the invention is the provision of a method and apparatus for erecting building structures in which a minimum of panel and column assemblies are required for effecting any of a wide variety of building structures. It is yet another aspect of the invention to provide a method and apparatus for erecting building structures which is easily implemented with state of the art materials and manufacturing procedures.

It is another aspect of the invention to provide a containment structure which is easy to construct. Still a further aspect of the invention is the provision of a containment structure which is constructed of reinforced concrete.

An additional aspect of the invention is the provision of a containment structure which is air and liquid tight to contain hazardous wastes and preclude their escape to the environment. Still a further aspect of the invention is the provision of a containment structure in which concrete is contained by forming pieces which remain in tact when the construction is completed.

Another aspect of the invention is the provision of a containment structure in which the forming pieces are fused together, to further achieve an air and water tight structure.

Yet another aspect of the invention is the provision of a containment structure which provides for lead shielding for receipt and maintenance of radioactive waste.

It is still another aspect of the invention to provide a method and apparatus for bridge construction for forming concrete structures which may serve

as the under structure and support of highway bridge decks.

Another aspect of the invention is the provision of a method and apparatus for bridge construction in which light weight permanent forms and light weight tension cables are employed as the basic construction components. Yet a further aspect of the invention is the provision of a method and apparatus for bridge construction which avoid the usual necessity of scaffolding to support removable forms and a base upon which they may be erected.

Yet another aspect of the invention is to provide a method and apparatus for bridge construction which allows for erection of a bridge without interrupting the flow of traffic or nature below the structure, and which promotes a minimal amount of ecological interruption.

An additional aspect of the invention is to provide a method and apparatus for bridge construction which is simplistic to employ and which attains a bridge structure of remarkable integrity. The foregoing and other aspects of the invention which will become apparent as the detailed description proceeds are achieved by a building structure, comprising: a first plurality of wall panels; a second plurality of column connectors interposed between and among selected ones of said wall panels and interconnecting said selected ones of said wall panels; a third plurality of wall caps extending over top surfaces of said wall panels and column connectors; and a fourth plurality of floor form assemblies received by and extending from said wall caps.

Other aspects of the invention are attained by a method for erecting a building, comprising: (a) interconnecting a plurality of wall panels to each other through a plurality of column connectors; (b) placing wall caps upon top surface portions of said interconnected wall panels and column connectors; (c) connecting floor panel forms to said wall caps, said floor panel forms having cavities for forming headers over supporting wall panels and purlins between said supporting wall panels; (d) filling selected ones of said wall panels with concrete, filling said purlin and header cavities with said concrete, and covering a top surface of said

floor panel forms to a predetermined level with concrete, thereby defining a first story of the building; and (e) repeating steps (a-d) to define each desired subsequent floor.

Yet other aspects of the invention which will become apparent as the detailed description proceeds are achieved by a building structure, comprising: an inner wall formed of a first plurality of panels joined together along lateral edges thereof by first column connectors, said inner wall forming a closure; an outer wall formed of a second plurality of panels joined together along lateral edges thereof by second column connectors, said outer wall forming a closure about said inner wall; and means interposed between said inner and outer walls for defining a rigid structure therebetween.

Additional aspects of the invention which will become apparent herein are achieved by a method for erecting a building structure, comprising: interconnecting a first plurality of panels to each other along lateral edges thereof by interconnecting such panels with first column connectors to form a first layer of a first closure; interconnecting a second plurality of panels to each other along lateral edges thereof by interconnecting such panels with first column connectors to form a second layer of said first closure, said panels of said second layer being positioned atop said panels of said first layer and said column connectors of said second layer being positioned atop said column connectors of said first layer; and bonding said first column connectors to said lateral edges of associated panels.

Still other aspects of the invention which will become apparent as the detailed description proceeds are achieved by an apparatus for bridge construction, comprising: a bottom form having first locking means at opposite lateral edges thereof for engaging a laterally adjacent bottom form, and having second locking means at longitudinal edges thereof for engaging a longitudinally adjacent bottom form; a support rod laterally traversing and engaging said bottom form; and a plurality of cables extending longitudinally of said bottom form, engaging said support rod and suspending said bottom form. Other aspects of the invention which will become apparent herein are

attained by a method of constructing a bridge, comprising: stringing a plurality of cables between first and second locations; suspending a first bottom form from said cables at said first location; transporting said first bottom form across said cables from said first location toward said second location; suspending a second bottom form from said cables at said first location; and transporting said second bottom form across said cables from said first location towards said second location and into interengagement with said first said bottom form.

DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS For a complete understanding of the objects, techniques, and structure of the invention reference should be made to the following detailed description and accompanying drawings wherein:

Fig. 1 is a cross sectional view of a standard column connector according to the invention in a square configuration; Fig. 2 is a cross sectional view of a standard column connector according to the invention in a rectangular configuration;

Fig. 3 is an cross sectional view of a typical panel spacer employed by the invention in a "X" configuration;

Fig. 4 is cross sectional view of a typical panel spacer employer by the invention in a "Y" configuration;

Fig. 4A is a front elevational view of the spacer of Fig. 4, showing the rebar receiving slots therein;

Fig. 5 is a cross sectional view of a wall panel assembly according to the invention; Fig. 6 is a cross sectional view of a floor panel assembly according to the invention;

Fig. 7 is cross sectional view of a first typical embodiment of an aligning wall cap employed by the invention;

Fig. 8 is a cross sectional view of another embodiment of a typical aligning wall cap according to the invention;

Fig. 9 is a cross sectional view of a floor and wall section in accordance with the invention;

Fig. 10 is cross sectional view of a floor and purlin section according to the invention; Fig. 11 is a cross sectional view of a floor and insulated curtain wall section made in accordance with the invention;

Fig. 12 is an illustrative perspective view of the intersection of a structural wall and exterior curtain wall according to the invention;

Fig. 13 is an illustrative view of the structure of Fig. 12 with the wall caps installed;

Fig. 14 is an illustrative view of the structure of Fig. 13 with rebar installed;

Fig. 15 is an illustrative view of the structure of Fig. 14 with certain floor forms installed;

Fig. 16 is an illustrative view of the structure of Fig. 15 with additional floor forms installed;

Fig. 17 is an illustrative view of the structure of Fig. 16 with aligning sill caps installed;

Fig. 18 is an illustrative view of the structure of Fig. 17 with concrete installed within the forms; Fig. 19 is an illustrative view of the structure of Fig. 18 showing the upper wall form in place;

Fig. 20 is a cross sectional view of an intersection of a roof and ceiling panel with a wall column connector in accordance with the invention;

Fig. 21 is a cross sectional view of a panel used in accordance with the invention;

Fig. 22 is a cross sectional view of an outer ring column connector according to the invention;

Fig. 23 is a cross sectional view of an inner ring column connector as employed in the invention; Fig. 24 is a top plan view of a panel joint gasket used in accordance with

the invention;

Fig. 25 is a top plan view of a joint gasket used in association with an outer ring column connector in accordance with the invention;

Fig. 26 is a top plan view of a gasket employed with an inner ring column connector according to the invention;

Fig. 27 is an illustrative cross sectional view of a pair of panels atop each other with a gasket interposed therebetween;

Fig. 28 is an exploded view of a pair of panels with a gasket interposed therebetween; Fig. 29 is a top plan view of an assembled cylindrical structure made in accordance with the invention employing the construction elements presented in Figs. 21-28;

Fig. 30 is a top plan view in partial section, illustrating a portion of a circular building structure showing the implementation of the panels and connectors with rebar placed reinforcement of the resulting concrete structures;

Fig. 31 is an isometric view of a portion of an assembled circular structure made in accordance with the invention;

Fig. 32 is a cross sectional view of a panel according to the invention having foamed material laminated to one external face; Fig. 33 is a cross sectional view of a panel according to the invention having a foamed material laminated to the interior of each end;

Fig. 34 is a cross sectional view of an outer ring column connector according to the invention having a foamed material laminated to one external face; Fig. 35 is a cross sectional view of an inner ring column connector according to the invention having a foamed material laminated to one external face;

Fig. 36 is a top plan view in partial section, showing the utilization of the elements of Figs. 32-35 in a building structure;

Fig. 37 is an end view of a standard bottom form according to the invention and including optional cored tubing therein;

Fig. 38 is an isometric view of a standard bottom form according to the invention and as shown in Fig. 37; Fig. 39 is an end view of a standard form joiner used in accordance with the invention and shown in rectangular configuration;

Fig. 40 is an isometric view of the form joiner of Fig. 39; Fig. 41 is an end view of an edge form employed by the invention; Fig. 42 is an isometric view of the standard edge form of the invention as shown in Fig. 41;

Fig. 43 is an end view of a standard section joiner used in accordance with the invention;

Fig. 44 is a isometric view of the standard section joiner shown in Fig. 43; Fig. 45 is a cross sectional view of a lateral bar positioning cap employed in accordance with the invention;

Fig. 46 is an isometric view of the lateral bar positioning cap of Fig. 45; and

Fig. 47 is an isometric view of the forms and joiners as set forth in Figs. 37-46 to establish a bridge deck form segment in accordance with the invention.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

For an understanding of the invention, an appreciation of the various components employed in the fabrication of a building made in accordance with the invention should first be attained. Accordingly, reference is now made to certain of the drawings in which various of the building components are illustrated. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that those elements and features shown in the drawings are illustrative only in that numerous and various modifications and/or changes may be employed to fit particular needs.

Referring now to the drawings and more particularly Fig. 1, it can be seen that a column connector in accordance with the invention is designated generally

by the numeral 10. As with most of the panel and column members of the invention, the column connector 10 is preferably constructed of a synthetic material such as polyvinylchloride (PVC) or other suitable reinforced polymeric material. It will be appreciated that the column connector 10 is an elongated member, shown in cross section only in Fig. 1. As illustrated, the column connector 10 has a square cross section, consisting of equal side plates 12. A plurality of channel member 14a- 14h extend laterally along the corners of the intersections of the side plates 12. Depending upon the position in the building structure at which the column connector 10 is to be employed, certain channel members 14a- 14h may be removed, either in situ, or during the process of fabricating the column connectors themselves. To minimize the number of molds required for making the various column connectors 10, a standard column connector such as shown in Fig. 1 may be manufacture and the undesired channel members 14a-14h simply be removed prior to installation. Of course, various column connectors 10 may be molded, if desired, having only the desired channel members 14a- 14h. Presently, it is contemplated that selected ones of the channel members 14a- 14h may be removed during the manufacturing process of the die face, while in a heated state and prior to entry into the sizer. However, any of various techniques may be employed. As the description proceeds, it will be appreciated that a column connector used at an end may necessarily only require channel members 14a and 14b. A straight column connector may require only channel members 14c, 14b, 14g, and 14h. A corner column connector may be formed and/or modified to include channel members 14a, 14b, 14c, 14g, and 14h. In accordance with another embodiment, channel member 14a-14d, 14g, and 14h may be employed for implementation at a T intersection.

As shown in cross section in Fig. 2, column connectors 16 may also be provided in rectangular cross section, the same again having four interconnecting side plates with appropriate channel members as just discussed with respect to the square column connector 10. Of course, the physical size and configuration of the

column connectors 10-16 will be determined by the size of the wall panels employed in the structure as will be apparent hereinafter.

With reference now to Figs.3 and 4, an appreciation of the spacer member employed between the skins of the floor and wall panel of the invention can be seen. Fig. 3 presents a cross sectional view of a panel skin spacer 18 in an "X" configuration, while Fig. 4 presents a panel skin spacer 20 of a linear nature, referred to as a "Y" configuration. As illustrated in the drawings, each of the spacers 18, 20 is provided with a locking member 22 at each of the ends thereof. The locking members 22 are typically V-shaped and adapted for receipt by locking receptacles in the panel skins as will be discussed below. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the spacers 18, 20 comprise elongated members, being shown only in cross section in Figs. 3 and 4. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the panel skin spacers may be provided with slots for receiving and supporting concrete poured therebetween. As illustrated in Fig. 4A, the spacer 20 may be characterized by a plurality of inverted teardrop shaped slots 23 therein for receiving rebar. With several such spacers 20 in alignment between a pair of panel skins, rebar may be passed through selected ones of aligned slots 23 prior to the entry of concrete into the cavity between the skins. The tear drop shape of the slots 23 assures that the rebar will seat itself within the slots. A wall panel assembly 24 made in accordance with the invention is shown in cross section in Fig. 5. As illustrated, the panel assembly 24 comprises a pair of spaced apart panel skins 26, again made of synthetic material such a PVC or the like. Each of the ends of the panel skins 26 is provided with channel-shaped connectors 28 extending along the edges thereof. The interior of each of the skins 26 is provided with a plurality of generally triangular shaped locking receptacles 30 which are adapted to slidingly receive the locking member 22 at the ends of the spacer members 18, 20. Accordingly interengagement of the locking members 22 and locking receptacles 30 secure the spacers 18, 20 to the panel skins 26, maintaining the skins 26 in fixed spaced apart relationship to each other, thereby defining the panel assembly 24. As will become apparent below, an appropriate

filler 32 such as concrete or the like is typically placed between the panel skins 28 in situ to provide the structural integrity desired.

In Fig. 6, a cross sectional view of a floor panel assembly made in accordance with the invention is also shown and designated by the numeral 34. The floor form assembly 34 comprises spaced-apart panel skins 26 within interconnecting spacers 18, 20, as shown. The connectors 28 at one end of each of the panels 26 of Fig. 6 is shown to be interconnected with a purlin form 36. As illustrated, sliding engagement of the channel connectors 28 allows for the interengagement of the purlin form 36 with the floor panel assembly 34. Where required, purlin stiffeners 38 may also be slid into place along the sides of the side plates of the purlin form 36 and maintained in such position by means of retainers 40. A rebar clip 42 may also be provided as shown.

It will be appreciated that the wall panel 24 must necessarily receive caps at areas of interface with other panel members or the like. While the specific designs and configurations of such wall caps may vary to suit intended purposes and needs, representative wall caps according to the invention are shown in Figs. 7 and 8. In Fig. 7, an aligning wall cap 44 includes a top plate 46, top ribs 48, and side channel members 50. The aligning wall cap 58 shown in Fig. 8 includes a top plate 46, extending top rib 48, a side channel member 50, a lower side plate 52, an upper side plate 54, and a rebar clip 56. Implementation of the wall caps 44, 58 will be shown in subsequent drawings and described further herein. Similarly, various modifications to such wall caps and the presence of other configurations thereof will further become apparent.

To appreciate the implementation of wall panels 24 and floor panels 34 in a structural environment, reference should be made to Fig. 9. As illustrated here, a wall and floor section is designated generally by the numeral 60. Here, a wall panel 24 having an aligning wall cap 44 at the top thereof receives a pair of floor panels 34. During the concrete filling operation, a concrete header 62 is formed in the area between the floor panels 34 and above the wall panel 24. Similarly, at that time a concrete slab 64 is poured over a reinforcing wire mesh 66 as

shown.

With reference now to Fig. 10, it can be seen that a floor section at a purlin made in accordance with the invention is designated generally by the numeral 68. Again, a plurality of floor panels 34 are interconnected with a common purlin form 36 by interengagement with appropriate connector channels 28. A rebar trough 70 is interconnected with the rebar clip 42 and receives a piece of rebar 72 for purposes of providing structural integrity and interconnection of the concrete 74 with adjoining purlin members. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the rebar trough 70 may be configured to extend to any desired height above the rebar clip 42 such that the rebar 72 is positioned to provide the most structural integrity.

Fig. 11 presents a floor section at an exterior insulated curtain wall and designates the same by the numeral 76. Here, insulation 78 such as foam or the like is provided in the wall panels 24. The lower wall panel 24 receives an aligning wall cap 58 which matingly engages with an aligning wall cap 80 for the top wall panel 24. As illustrated, the aligning wall cap 80 provides for retaining and establishing the height of a concrete floor slab 64 having a reinforcing mesh 66 therein. Also as shown, a concrete header 82 is defined between the aligning wall caps 58, 80 and the spacer 18. Rebar 72 may also be provided for customary purposes.

With an appreciation of the basic structural elements and features of the invention, the actual construction technique of a building in accordance with the invention may now be appreciated with reference to the remaining drawings. As shown in Fig. 12, structural walls and exterior curtain walls may be formed by the appropriate interconnection of wall panels 24 and column connectors 10, 16. Appropriate insulation 78 fills certain desired ones of the panels 24. Additionally, and where desired, partial insulation panels may be inserted into certain of the support columns 10 as desired. The resultant intersection of the structural wall and exterior curtain wall is designated generally by the numeral 84 in Fig. 12. With reference now to Fig. 13, it can be seen that the structure of Fig. 12

has been modified by the addition of aligning wall caps 44, 58 as shown. The resultant structure, designated by the numeral 86, demonstrates an adaptability to receive floor panels and the like as will be discussed below. It will here be appreciated that openings 88 are provided in the wall caps 58 to communicate with the column connectors 10, while openings 90 are provided in the wall caps 44, 58 to communicate with the column connector 16. Additionally, openings 92 are provided in the wall caps 44 to communicate with the interior of the wall panels 24. It will be appreciated that the openings 88, 90, 92 are provided to allow for passage of rebar, concrete, and the like from one wall area to the next vertically adjacent wall area.

As illustrated in Fig. 14 by the numeral 94, the structure of claim 13 is shown with the rebar 72 in place, the same extending from the column connectors 10, 16 through the associated openings 88, 90 in the sill caps 44, 58.

In Fig. 15, and designated by the numeral 96, the structure 94 of Fig. 14 is shown as being modified by the attachment of floor panel forms 34 with a purlin form 36 interconnecting the same. As illustrated, the floor panel forms 34 interconnect at the side edge portions of the wall caps 44, 58. Additional floor panels 34 and purlin forms 36 are applied to the structure which is now designated by the numeral 98 in Fig. 16. Here, rebar 72 is also shown as extending through the purlin forms and along the wall caps for purposes of providing structural integrity and interconnection between the various structural elements.

The number 100 serves to designate the structure 98 with an additional aligning wall cap 80 applied to the assembly thereof and interconnecting with the wall cap 58 and floor panels 34. As illustrated, rebar 72 further extends through the openings 88, 90 to further provide for interconnection of the resultant concrete columns and headers when concrete is introduced into the various passages and cavities defined by the structure 100.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that with the various wall panels 24, floor panels 34, purlins 36, aligning sill and wall caps 44, 58, 80, rebar 72, and the

like all in place as illustrated in Fig. 17, concrete may be introduced into selected areas in a continuous pour operation to effectuate the resultant structure illustratively shown in Fig. 18 and designated by the numeral 102. Here, concrete purlins 74 with reinforcing rebar 72 are supported by headers 82 supported over the columns 10, 16. The skins of certain of the various panels are removed in the illustration of Fig. 18 for purposes of illustrating the presence of the concrete structural features. However, it will appreciated that the panel skins will typically remain in place and provide the finished surface for the resultant structure, obviating the need for actually "finishing" the concrete surfaces. In the preferred embodiment, the top surface of the slab 64 is exposed and, accordingly, is necessarily finished during the erecting process.

As illustrated in Fig. 19 by the numeral 104, additional wall panels 24 and connector columns 10, 16 are provided in interconnection with the wall caps and the like of the lower wall and floor assemblies as shown. It will be appreciated that the extension of the rebar 72 and the column connectors 10, 16 provides for structural continuity of the column connectors from one floor to the next, assuring for an integral structure from floor-to-floor and wall-to-wall.

With attention now to Fig. 20, it will be appreciated that any building structure must be capped by a roof or other appropriate top surface to protect the same from the elements. As shown in Fig. 20, and designated by the numeral 105, there is presented the interconnection of an appropriate roof system with a wall structure. Here, a column connector 70 has an inner panel of insulation foam 78 and an outer structural element of poured concrete 106. A threaded connector 108 is secured in the concrete 106 and extends therefrom through an appropriate sloping wall cap 112, the same being of triangular cross section and providing the slope angle for the roof assembly. The roof assembly comprises a roof panel 110 connected to a ceiling panel 114, the latter having appropriate insulation 78 therein above the occupied space of the resultant building. It will be appreciated that the roof panel 110 and the ceiling panel 114 are constructed in a fashion similar to the wall panels and floor panels discussed above, having

strengthening and reinforcing spacers as also earlier discussed. The ceiling panel 114 is secured to the sloping wall cap 112 by means of a nut 118 threadedly secured to the threaded anchor 108. A beveled washer 116, having a sloping surface corresponding to that of the sloping wall cap 112, is interposed between the nut 118 and an interior surface of a skin of the ceiling panel 114, as shown. To complete the structure of the ceiling and roof panels assembly 105, an appropriate endcap 120 is provided over the end of the ceiling panel 114 and adapted to securingly receive a gutter assembly 122.

It should now be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the instant invention provides an apparatus and technique for assembling a building structure in situ by the placement of a plurality of interconnected floor, wall, ceiling, and roof panels and subsequently filling selected portions of such panels with concrete and/or insulation. The panels themselves are typically formed by interconnected skins with spacers, such skins having exposed exterior surfaces which serve as the finished surfaces of the resultant structure. For example, the skins of the wall panels serve as the wall surfaces themselves, while the exposed lower skins of the floor panels serve as the sealing surface of the room or area below. The exterior skin surface may serve as the exterior surfaces of the building itself, where such walls are exterior walls. In that regard, the skin surfaces may be textured or architecturally treated as desired.

FIRST ALTERNATIVE EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

For an appreciation of the structure and technique of the first alternative embodiment of the invention, attention should first be made to the construction elements employed in achieving the final building structure. To this end, reference is first made to Fig. 21, wherein a panel according to the invention is designated generally by the numeral 210. It will be appreciated that the panel 210 is an elongated member and may be constructed of various sizes. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the panel 210 is molded or extruded of a suitable synthetic material such as poly vinyl chloride (PVC) or other non-

corrosive and non-deteriorating material. The panel 210 comprises a pair of opposed parallel face plates 212 interconnected at their ends by end webs 214. Internal webs 216 extend across the span between the face plates 212 and are interconnected orthogonally thereto. Accordingly, a plurality of elongated cavities 218 of rectangular or square cross section are defined between the various webs 214, 216.

A channel connector 220 is formed at each of the corners of the panel 210 at the intersection of the face plates 212 and the end web 214. Provided at each channel connector 220 and at opposite ends of each of the end webs 214 is a thermal conductor 222 which in the preferred embodiment comprises a copper wire, heating element, or other suitable member which generates heat in response to electrical current passing therethrough. It will be appreciated that each of the conductors 222 extends the entire length of the panel 210 and is exposed, as shown, at each of the opposite ends thereof. A column connector 224 is shown in Fig. 22 and should be understood as also being an elongated member, typically having a length equal to the length of the panels 210. Column connector 224 is also preferably fabricated of the same material as the panel 210 and comprises four side plates 226 defining a cavity 228, as shown. While the side plates 226 are shown as being of equal size to provide a cavity 228 of square cross section, it will be appreciated that any generally rectangular configuration is suitable. An shaped connector leg 230 a-d extends from each of the corners of the column connector 224, with the connectors being turned inwardly toward each other in pairs as shown in Fig. 22, defining a channel thereby. Also extending from a pair of opposite corners of the column connector 224 are L-shaped connector legs 230 e-f, also being turned inwardly toward each other, as shown. Each of the L-shaped connector legs 230 a-d is provided with an electrical conductor or heater element 232, similar in nature to the element 222 of the panel 210 discussed above. Again, the conductors 232 extend the entire length of the L-shaped connector legs 230 a-d. It will be appreciated that the L-shaped connector legs 230 a-d of the

column connector 224 are of an elongated shaped nature. As will be appreciated below, this configuration is provided to allow the column connectors 224 to serve as outer ring connectors in an ultimate dual-walled cylindrical structure of circular cross section. In like manner, and as shown in Fig. 23, column connectors 234 are provided to interconnect the various panels 210 in the inner wall structure of the dual-walled building to be discussed below. Here, each column connector 234 is formed by a plurality of side plates 236, again defining a cavity 228. As presented above, the side plates 226 may be of identical size and configuration to provide the cavity 228 of square cross section, but any generally rectangular cross section will suffice. Lshaped connector legs 238 a-d extend from opposite corners of the column connector 234 and are turned inwardly as shown. In similar fashion, Lshaped connector legs 238 e-f are also provided extending along the side of one of the face plates 236. It will again be appreciated that the column connector 224, adapted for interconnecting panels 210 in the inner ring of a dual wall configuration, have the same length as the panels 210. Finally, electrical connectors 240 are provided in the ends of each of the Lshaped connector legs 238 a-d and are of the same nature as the conductors 222, 232 discussed above.

As mentioned above and as will become apparent below, the column connectors 224 serve to interconnect panels 210 in an outer wall while the column connectors 224 serve to connect panels 210 in an inner wall of a dual walled structure. In the event that the structure is of square or rectangular configuration, the legs 230 a-d will typically be identical to the legs 238 a-d. However, if the resultant building is to be of circular cross section such as a silo or the like, the legs 230a, 230b and 238a, 238b will typically be longer than the corresponding legs 230c, 230d and 238c, 238d. Specifically, the column connector 234 of Fig. 23 is shown in that configuration. The column connector 224 of Fig. 22 is shown with legs 230 a-d all of the same length, as would be expected in a building structure of flat or linear walls. Those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that the disparity in length between the pairs of legs on the column connectors 224, 234

will be dependent upon the radius of curvature of the resultant cylindrical building.

With reference now to Fig. 24, it will be noted that a gasket 242 is provided for interposition between vertically stacked panels 210. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the gasket 242 is formed of rubber, vinyl, or other suitable polymeric material which is substantially impervious to deterioration, shrinkage, or the like. The gasket 242 is provided with ribs 244 which extend both above and below the plane of the gasket and are provided to matingly engage over the top surfaces of the corresponding elements of the panel 210. In other words, ribs 244 would pass above and below on either side of the inner webs 216, outer web 214, and face plates 212 of the panel 210, as will be appreciated below. Again, a conductive member such a wire, or an appropriate heating element 246 is provided at each of the corners of the gasket 242, as shown. The conductors 246 are adapted to electrically interconnect with the conductors 222 of the panels 210.

Fig. 25 illustrates a gasket 248 adapted for use with the column connector 224. Again, the gasket 248 is made of an appropriate elastomeric material and includes a rib 250 extending above and below the plane of the gasket to be matingly received within the cavity 228 along side the inner surfaces of the side plates 226. Conductors 252 are also provided for making electrically conductive engagement with the conductors 232.

A gasket 254 adapted for use with the column connector 234 is shown in Fig. 26. Again, the gasket is of an appropriate elastomeric material and includes a rib 256 extending above and below the plane of the gasket. The rib 256 is adapted for receipt within the cavity 228 defined by the side plates 226 and to engage along the side thereof. As with the gasket 248, electrical conductors 258 are provided to conductingly engage with the conductors 240.

The implementation of a gasket 242 interposed between a pair of stacked panels 210 is illustrated in cross section by the numeral 260 in Fig. 27 and is further shown in assembly view in Fig. 28. It should be readily appreciated that

the gasket 242 nests upon the bottom one of the panels 210 and nestingly receives the lower edge of the top panel 210. Accordingly, an airtight and water tight engagement is achieved between the vertically stacked panels 210, as would also be achieved between the vertically stacked column connectors 224, 234 when employing associated gaskets 248, 254.

With reference now to Fig.29, it can be seen that the circular cross section of a cylindrical building frame made in accordance with the invention is designated by the numeral 262. It will be appreciated that the building frame 262 comprises a plurality of stacked and interconnected panels 210 and outer and inner column connectors 224, 234. As shown in Fig. 29, the building frame 262 is a dual walled structure formed of a plurality of interconnected panels 210, joined together on the inner wall by the inner panel connectors 234, and at the outer wall by the outer column connectors 224. As further illustrated, sectors of six interconnected panels 210 are defined between cross panels 264, 266. It will be appreciated that each of the cross panels 264, 266 also comprises a stacked arrangement of the panels 210. As will readily be appreciated, the panels 210 forming the inner wall section are connected together by means of the column connectors 234, while the panels 210 forming the outer wall section are interconnected by the column connectors 224. At the points where the cross panels 264, 266 are positioned, a panel 210 is interconnected between the L shaped connector legs 230e and 230f of the outer column connector 224, and the Lshaped connector legs 238e and 238f of the inner wall column connector 234. It should further be appreciated that the building frame 262 is thus defined by a plurality of column cavities 268 defined between the cross panels 264, 266 and arcuate cavities 270 also similarly defined. The column cavities 268 have a width of one panel 210, while the arcuate cavities 270 have a width of six such panels.

It should further be appreciated from reference to Fig. 29 that a cylindrical housing 262 can be fabricated using a plurality of interconnected rectangular or square building panels 210 and column connectors 224, 234. Curvature is obtained by control of the disparity in length of the L-shaped connector legs 230a-

230d of the outer column connector 224, and the similar legs 238a-238d of the inner column connectors 234.

With reference now to Fig. 30, it can be seen that a section of the inner and outer walls of the building frame 262 is designated generally by the numeral 272. Here, the positioning of the outer wall column connectors 224 with respect to the inner wall column connectors 234 is shown. Additionally, positioning of the cross members 264, 266, which simply comprise stacked panels 210, can also be seen. Of particular importance to the concept of the invention, it will be noted that rebar 274 is positioned vertically in the column connectors 224, 234 at the cross members 264, 266. Additionally, it will be appreciated that rebar 276 may be vertically positioned within the cavity defined between the cross members 264, 266 as illustrated. Finally, rebar 278 may be arcuately extended horizontally in the region between the inner and outer walls of the building frame 262 as shown. Finally, the various cavities defined by the inner and outer walls are filled with an appropriate hard-setting material such as concrete. First, the cavities 218 of the panels 210 and the cavities 228 of the column connectors 224, 234 forming the inner and outer walls are filled with concrete, thereby establishing rigid concentric cylindrical forms for the larger central cavities 268, 270, which are subsequently poured. For added strength of the forms, the cavities 218 of the panels 210 forming the cross members 264, 266 may be filled with concrete at the time of pouring those of the inner and outer walls. However, pouring of the cross members 264, 266 may be delayed until pouring of the cavities 268, 270. It will, of course, be appreciated that the entire building structure 262 will typically set upon an appropriate pad or the like with certain of the rebar 274, 276 extending therefrom.

With reference now to Fig. 31, it can be seen that a section of a building structure 262 is designated generally by the numeral 280. Here, the positioning of the rebar 278 arcuately between the wall sections is clearly shown, as is the extension of the vertically positioned rebar 274, 276. It should further be appreciated that the joints between the panels 210 and

the column connectors 224, 234 can be fused and integrally bonded by an appropriate means such as heating the material of the channel connectors and column connectors. For this purpose, the forming elements of the structure, such as the panels 210 and connectors 224, 234 are fabricated of an appropriate fusible material such as a synthetic on the order of PVC or the like. By passing current through the various conductors 222, 232, 240, 246, 252, and 258, the temperature of the material surrounding the conductors may be raised to such a point as to begin to melt or flow. When the current is terminated, the temperature of the conductor decreases to ambient, allowing the synthetic material to reset in a fused or bonded condition. Of course, other fusing or bonding techniques may be employed, such as the use of light, vibration, or other means to generate the necessary heat to achieve the thermal bond. The bonding or fusing operation causes the entirety of the forms 210, 224, 234 to become an integral shell providing, in combination with the gaskets 242, 248, 254 a dual walled airtight and water tight structure. Indeed, four concentric sealed integral cylindrical barriers are thereby formed. Completion of that structure is then achieved by the pouring of concrete in appropriate cavities as discussed above.

It is further contemplated as a portion of the invention that the horizontally oriented gaskets 242 interposed between the panels 210 of the outer walls of the structure 262 be vertically spaced from or misaligned with the corresponding gaskets 242 of the inner wall thereof. This precludes horizontal joints from being aligned between the walls of the structure. Such misalignment may be easily achieved by simply interposing panels of different lengths or heights in selected rows of such panels in either the inner or outer wall structure. It is also contemplated as a portion of the instant invention that a suitable housing or structure may be developed to receive radioactive waste. In this regard, it is desired that an appropriate lead shielding be present about the entire perimeter of the containment structure. In this regard, reference is now made to the structure shown in Figs. 32-36. In Fig. 32, a wall panel 282 is shown as comprising the previously referenced wall panel 210 having an appropriate layer

of foam 284 laminated to an outer one of the face plates 212. As will be appreciated herein, each of various forming and construction elements is provided with such a foam layer, which foam may be any appropriate close cell foam.

With reference to Fig. 33, it can be seen that a panel 286 consists of the previously described panel 210 having a foam layer 288 laminated on an inner surface of each of the end webs 214 thereof. In like manner, Fig. 34 illustrates an outer ring column connector 290 having a foam layer 292 laminated to an outer surface thereof, while Fig. 35 illustrates an inner ring column connector 294 having a foam layer 296 laminated to an outer surface thereof. It will be appreciated that the column connector 290 is simply the column connector 224 with a foam layer laminated thereto, while the column connector 294 is simply a column connector 234 with a foam layer 296 laminated thereto.

The elements 224, 234, 282, 286, 290 and 294 may be employed in the manner described earlier herein to construct a cylindrical containment housing such as that shown in Fig. 29. The exact positioning of the various building elements is illustrated in Fig. 36. As illustrated, panels 286 are employed to form the cross members between the inner and outer walls, mating with standard outer and inner column connectors 224, 234, as illustrated. The panels 282 forming the inner wall are joined together with the inner column connectors 294, while the panels 282 forming the outer wall are joined together with the column connectors 290. The section 298 shown in Fig. 36 is, of course, repeated throughout the entire structure to achieve the desired cylindrical housing. Rebar is similarly employed as discussed earlier herein and the cavity between the inner and outer walls is filled with concrete. It will now be appreciated that a cylindrical concrete wall has been developed with a foam barrier interposed between the inner and outer wall shells. It is then contemplated that the foam layers are removed, either mechanically or chemically as by pouring an appropriate acid upon the foam, thus leaving a void between the concrete cylinder and the cylinder housing formed by the panels 282 and column connectors 290, 294, 224, 234. The void may then be filled with lead

as by pouring the lead into the cavity to provide a double wall thickness of lead on either side of the concrete cylinder. By presenting lead also in the bottom of the building structure and providing the structure with a lead cap, a containment housing having a lead barrier about the entirety thereof is thus defined. Such a structure is suitable for receiving and retaining radioactive material and waste.

SECOND ALTERNATIVE EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

In order to fully appreciate the structure and technique of the second alternative embodiment of the invention, it is preferable to first gain an understanding of the component parts employed in manufacturing a bridge deck form segment. Referring first to Figs. 37 and 38, it can be seen that a bottom form employed in accordance with the invention is designated generally by the numeral 310. It will be appreciated that the bottom form 310 and the other forms referenced herein are preferably manufactured of an appropriate synthetic material such as polyvinylchloride (PVC). The bottom form 310 includes a planar base 312 having channel members 314 established and defined along lateral side edges thereof. As illustrated, each of the channel members 314 has an inwardly extending top ledge 328. A truncated pyramidal cover 316 rises up and extends over a central portion of the planar base 312, defining an elongated trapezoidal cavity 318 therewith.

A pair of walls 320 extends upwardly from the base 312 and are typically perpendicular thereto. The walls 320 are positioned on either side of the cover 316, as shown. According to one embodiment of the invention, tubular conduits 322 are received by and extend longitudinally along the walls, there being two such conduits 322 in each of the walls in the embodiment shown. As illustrated, the conduits 322 are preferably positioned in the upper half of the walls 320. Also provided in each of the walls 320 are a pair of teardrop slots 324 positioned near the longitudinal ends of the wall 320. The larger radiused end of the slots 324 is downward, while the smaller radiused end is upward in true teardrop configuration.

It will also be noted that the base 312 is characterized by a plurality of slots 326 along opposite lateral edges thereof. The slots 326 are uniformly spaced from the associated edge, as illustrated. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the slots 326 pass completely through the base 312. It will also be appreciated that the bottom form 310 may be of any of various sizes. While the particular embodiment shown in the drawing demonstrates the lateral dimension to be greater than the longitudinal one, such need not be the case. Indeed, the forms 310 may be configured in any of various sizes to fit particular needs.

Referring now to Figs. 39 and 40, it can be seen that a form joiner member according to the invention is designated by the numeral 330. Again, this member is preferably of PVC or other suitable material. The joiner member 330 includes a pair of square channels 332 sharing a common center wall 334. Of course, the specific geometric configuration of the channel member may be varied. A 'T' channel 336 is configured at a bottom of the common wall 334 and is opened at the base of the juncture of the square cavities 332, as shown. The 'T' channel 336 is configured and adapted to receive abutted channel members 314 with the top ledges 328 forming the top of the "T * . It will be readily appreciated that the form joiner members 330 may be employed to fixedly secure laterally adjacent bottom forms 310, with the channel 336 matingly receiving abutted pairs of channel members 314.

With reference now to Figs. 41 and 42, it can be seen that an edge form in accordance with the invention is designated by the numeral 340 and comprises an orthogonally connected wall 342 and base 344. A channel 346 is defined at an outer edge of the base 344 opposite the wall 342 and is provided with the same height as the channel 314 and being configured such as to matingly engage a channel 314. A slanted wall 348 extends upwardly from a top corner edge of the channel 346 to the wall 342 and forming a cavity therewith, as shown. Also extending longitudinally along the wall 342 above the slanted wall 348 is a channel 350 adapted for receiving a support rod cap in a manner to be discussed below.

With reference now to Figs. 43 and 44, it can be seen that a section joiner according to the invention is designated by the numeral 352. Here, a center wall

354 extends upwardly and orthogonally from the center of a base member 356.

A plurality of deflectable tabs 358 extend from opposite sides of the center wall 354 and are positioned above the base 356 as shown. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the spacing between the tabs 358 and the base 356 are substantially equal to or slightly greater than the thickness of the base 312 of the bottom form 310. A plurality of protrusions or barbs 360 extend downwardly from the deflectable tabs 358 and toward the base 356. The spacing of the barbs 360 from the vertical wall 354 is substantially equal to or slightly less than the spacing of the slots 326 from their respective edges of the base 312 in the bottom form 310.

Referring now to Figs. 45 and 46, it can be seen that a cap 362 according to the invention comprises a head 364 having a tubular body member 366 extending therefrom. The diameter of the head 364 is substantially equal to, but slightly less than the opening between the flanges of the channel 350 to be received and securedly engaged therein.

With reference now to Fig.47, the implementation of the various elements just described in devising a bridge deck form segment 370 can be seen. As shown, a bottom form 310 has an edge form 340 connected along one side thereof as by means of interengagement of channel members 346, 314. Similarly, a trailing edge of the base 312 of the bottom form 310 is matingly connected with a section joiner 352 as by interengagment of the barbs 360 with aligned slots 326. Typically, the channel member 314 on the side of the form 310 opposite that receiving the edge form 340 would receive either an edge form 340 or be matingly engaged to another channel member 314 of another bottom form 310 as by means of a form joiner member 330. With that configuration of forms so made, they are positioned beneath a plurality of permanent support cables 374 which extend between first and second locations which define the terminal points of the bridge to be constructed. Caps 362 are slid into the channel 350 and the bridge deck

form segment 370 is then lifted such that the teardrop holes 324 are above the permanent cables 374. At this time, a support rod 372 such as rebar or the like is slid through the openings 324 and into receiving engagement with the cap 362. Of course, a plurality of such bars are typically so positioned. The segment 370 is then lowered upon the permanent cables 374 and supported thereon by means of the support bars 372. The segment 370 is then pulled from the first location to the second location and a subsequent identical segment 370 is then constructed at the first location and the process is repeated, with the second such form segment 370 engaging the previous segment 370 as by interlocking engagement of the section joiner 352 of the first such segment with the slots 326 of the second. This process repeats until the entire span between the first and second locations is populated with interconnected segments 370 maintained upon the permanent cables 374. Those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that a large plurality of such cables 374 will typically be employed for purpose of suspending the bridge deck assembly.

With all of the forms segments in place, the forms may begin to be filled with concrete to the level of the top edge of the vertical wall 342 of the edge forms 340 on either lateral side of the bridge assembly. Sections of the bridge may be poured and cured independently of each other, or the entire bridge structure may be poured simultaneously. It will be appreciated that the trapezoidal cavity 318 remains devoid of concrete, as do the cavities at the sidewall defined by the sloping wall 348 interconnecting the channel 346 and the vertical wall 342. These cavities are blocked and sealed by the center wall 354 of the section joiner 352, as best shown in Fig. 47. Additionally, the suspension cable 374 and the support rods 372 serve as rebar in the deck assembly. It will further be noted that the forms 310, 340 may be left in place after the curing operation and may form a finished outer surface of the bridge structure since the same are preferably made of PVC or other environmentally stable synthetic material. The conduits 322 remain open and are contemplated for the passage, of

heated fluid or the like to prevent water from freezing upon the bridge at low ambient temperatures. Of course, the conduits 322 are optional for that purpose and may be eliminated if that feature is not desired.

It is presently contemplated that intermediate support structures may be employed in accordance with the invention for bridges of substantial span. The method of construction would, however, remain substantially the same.

Thus it can be seen that the objects of the invention have been satisfied by the structures presented above. While in accordance with the patent statutes only the best mode and preferred embodiments of the invention have been presented and described in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited thereto or thereby. Accordingly, for a appreciation of the true scope and breadth of the invention, reference should be made to the following claims.