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Title:
PRODUCTS WITH EMBEDDED CARBON VEIL HEATING ELEMENTS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/216631
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A heated floor system including a section of flooring including an embedded carbon veil heating element. The carbon veil heating element including at least two electrically conductive veil busbars spaced apart from one another. Also included in the system are at least two floor electrical busbars electrically connected to the at least two veil busbars, and a controller electrically connected to the floor busbars configured to apply electrical current to the floor busbars sufficient to cause the carbon veil to produce heat in a portion thereof located between the veil busbars.

Inventors:
SAJIC, Peter (9 Golf Links Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8BE, BH18 8BE, GB)
Application Number:
IB2017/000870
Publication Date:
December 21, 2017
Filing Date:
June 14, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
LAMINAHEAT HOLDING LTD. (Keepers Cottages, 3 Dublin RoadLeixlip, Co. Kildare, IE)
International Classes:
H05B3/34
Other References:
None
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A heated floor system comprising :

an section of flooring including an embedded carbon veil heating element, the carbon veil heating element comprising at least two electrically conductive veil busbars spaced apart from one another;

at least two floor electrical busbars electrically connected to the at least two veil busbars; and

a controller electrically connected to the floor busbars configured to apply electrical current to the floor busbars sufficient to cause the carbon veil to produce heat in a portion thereof located between the veil busbars.

2. The heated floor system of claim 1, wherein the floor busbars are recessed in a subfloor upon which the section of flooring is installed .

3. The heated floor system of claim 1, wherein the floor busbars are positioned behind a baseboard adjacent the section of flooring is installed.

4. The heated floor system of claim 1, wherein the floor busbars extend along a length of the section of flooring and are electrically connected to respective sets of veil busbars in the carbon veil heating element in a plurality of locations.

5. The heated floor system of claim 1, further comprising a temperature sensor positioned in a location operable to sense heat emitted from the section of flooring and in communication with the controller, wherein the controller is configured to apply electrical current to the busbars based upon an input signal from the temperature sensor.

6. A method of installing a heated floor system comprising :

installing a section of flooring including an embedded carbon veil heating element onto an area of a floor, the carbon veil heating element comprising at least two electrically conductive veil busbars spaced apart from one another;

installing at least two electrical floor busbars beneath the section of flooring or on a vertical surface adjacent to the floor;

electrically connecting the electrical floor busbars to the veil busbars in the embedded carbon veil heating element; and

electrically connecting the electrical floor busbars to a controller configured to apply electrical current to the floor busbars sufficient to cause the carbon veil to produce heat in a portion thereof located between the veil busbars.

7. The method of installing a heated floor system of claim 6, including inserting the busbars into a recessed area in a subfloor over which the section of flooring is installed .

8. The method of installing a heated floor system of claim 6, including mounting the busbars on a wall behind a baseboard adjacent the area of the floor on which the section of flooring is installed.

9. The method of installing a heated floor system of claim 6, including installing the floor busbars to extend along a length of the section of flooring, and electrically connecting the floor busbars to respective sets of veil busbars in the carbon veil heating element in a plurality of locations.

10. The method of installing a heated floor system of claim 6, including positioning a temperature sensor in a location operative to detect heat emanated from the section of flooring; and

placing the temperature sensor in communication with the controller.

11. A method of making a heated laminar product, the method comprising : providing a roll of a carbon veil heating element having a width equivalent to a width of a desired finished roll of laminar product, the heating element having one or more pairs of veil busbars;

feeding one end of the roll of the carbon veil heating element between respective ends of upper and lower layers of respective feedstocks of laminar intermediate material;

embedding the carbon veil heating element between the upper and lower layers to form the finished roll of laminar product, such that the carbon veil heating element is less than 1 mm from an upper surface of the laminar product.

12. The method of claim 11, wherein the laminar product is a flooring product, the method comprising :

laminating the roll of the carbon veil heating element between a top layer of flooring intermediate fed from a first roll and a bottom layer of flooring intermediate fed from a second roll.

13. The method of claim 11, wherein the laminar product is a cover or tarp.

14. The method of claim 11, wherein the first and second feedstocks are each extruded.

15. The method of claim 11, wherein the laminar product is a floor

underlayment and the first layer comprises a film and the second layer comprises a foam.

16. A carbon veil heating element feedstock comprising a carbon veil heating element having a plurality of pairs of electrically conductive veil busbars spaced apart from one another along a width of the feedstock and the feedstock configured as a spirally wound cylindrical roll along a length of the feedstock.

17. A laminar product made by the process of claim 11.

18. The product of claim 11, wherein the product comprises a flooring product.

19. The product of claim 18, wherein the flooring product comprises visible indicia on a surface thereof aligned with each embedded busbar.

20. The product of claim 19, wherein the visible indicia comprises an element of a decorative pattern visible in a finished floor surface facing upward from the floor.

21. The product of claim 20, wherein the visible indicia comprises a temporary or removable marking.

22. The heated floor system of claim 1, wherein the at least two floor electrical busbars are connected to and electrically isolated from one another by a matrix of insulation.

23. The heated floor system of claim 22, comprising at least a first length and a second length of continuous busbar track comprising the at least two floor electrical busbars spaced apart from one another, each length having opposite ends, and one or more connectors configured to electrically connect at least a busbar from the first length to a respective busbar of the second length.

24. The heated floor system of claim 23, wherein each of the at least two floor electrical busbars protrude from the opposite ends of the busbar track, and the one or more connectors comprises at least two annular busbar sheaths connected to and electrically isolated from one another by a matrix of insulation, each sheath internally dimensioned and positioned to mate with the protruding ends of respective busbars from adjoining lengths of busbar track.

25. The heated floor system of claim 24, further comprising one or more fasteners, each fastener protruding through and electrically connecting one busbar to one busbar sheath.

26. A busbar track system for the floor system of claim 1, comprising :

at least two busbars, each busbar comprising a conductive metal having a rectangular cross section having a width and a thickness in which the width is greater than 10X the thickness;

a matrix of insulation connecting the at least two busbars together.

27. A busbar track connector for the busbar track system of claim 26, comprising :

at least two busbar sheaths, each busbar sheath comprising a annular conductive metal having a rectangular cross section internally dimensioned to receive one of the at least two busbars;

a matrix of insulation connecting the at least two busbar sheaths together.

Description:
PRODUCTS WITH EMBEDDED CARBON VEIL HEATING ELEMENTS

• This application is related to and claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/349,858 filed on June 14, 2016, entitled "PRODUCTS WITH EMBEDDED CARBON VEIL HEATING ELEMENTS," the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to products embedded with a carbon veil heating element, and more specifically, to heated surface coverings, such as flooring .

SUMMARY

One aspect of the invention comprises a heated floor system. The heated floor system comprises a section of flooring including an embedded carbon veil heating element, the carbon veil heating element comprising at least two electrically conductive veil busbars spaced apart from one another, at least two floor electrical busbars electrically connected to the at least two veil busbars; and a controller electrically connected to the floor busbars and configured to apply electrical current to the floor busbars sufficient to cause the carbon veil to produce heat in a portion thereof located between the veil busbars. In various embodiments, the floor busbars may be recessed in a subfloor upon which the section of flooring is installed or located behind a baseboard adjacent the section of flooring is installed. The floor busbars typically extend along a length of the section of flooring and are electrically connected to respective sets of veil busbars in the carbon veil heating element in a plurality of locations. The system may also comprise a temperature sensor positioned in a location operable to sense heat emitted from the section of flooring and in communication with the controller, wherein the controller is configured to apply electrical current to the busbars based upon an input signal from the temperature sensor. The flooring product may comprise visible indicia on a surface thereof aligned with each embedded busbar, such as temporary or removable marking or an element of a decorative pattern visible in a finished floor surface facing upward from the floor.

The at least two floor electrical busbars may be connected to and electrically isolated from one another by a matrix of insulation. At least a first length and a second length of continuous busbar track may comprise the at least two floor electrical busbars spaced apart from one another, each length having opposite ends, and one or more connectors configured to electrically connect at least a busbar from the first length to a respective busbar of the second length. Each of the at least two floor electrical busbars may protrude from the opposite ends of the busbar track, and the one or more connectors may comprise at least two annular busbar sheaths connected to and electrically isolated from one another by a matrix of insulation, each sheath internally dimensioned and positioned to mate with the protruding ends of respective busbars from adjoining lengths of busbar track. One or more fasteners may protrude through and electrically connect one busbar to one busbar sheath.

Still another aspect of the invention comprises a busbar track system for use in a heated floor system, the track system comprising at least two busbars, each busbar comprising a conductive metal having a rectangular cross section having a width and a thickness in which the width is greater than 10X the thickness, and a matrix of insulation connecting the at least two busbars together. Yet another aspect of the invention may comprise a busbar track connector for the busbar track system as described herein, the connector comprise at least two busbar sheaths, each busbar sheath comprising a annular conductive metal having a rectangular cross section internally dimensioned to receive one of the at least two busbars, and a matrix of insulation connecting the at least two busbar sheaths together.

Another aspect of the invention comprises a method for installing a heated floor system. The method comprises installing a section of flooring including an embedded carbon veil heating element onto an area of a floor, the carbon veil heating element comprising at least two electrically conductive veil busbars spaced apart from one another, installing at least two electrical floor busbars beneath the section of flooring or on a vertical surface adjacent to the floor, electrically connecting the electrical floor busbars to the veil busbars in the embedded carbon veil heating element, electrically connecting the electrical floor busbars to a controller configured to apply electrical current to the floor busbars sufficient to cause the carbon veil to produce heat in a portion thereof located between the veil busbars.

Still another aspect of the invention comprises a method of making a heated laminar product, the method comprising providing a roll of a carbon veil heating element having a width equivalent to a width of a desired finished roll of laminar product, the heating element having one or more pairs of veil busbars, feeding one end of the roll of the carbon veil heating element between respective ends of upper and lower layers of respective feedstocks of laminar intermediate material, and embedding the carbon veil heating element between the upper and lower layers to form the finished roll of laminar product, such that the carbon veil heating element is less than 1 mm from an upper surface of the laminar product. The laminar product may be, for example, a flooring product or a cover or tarp. In an embodiment in which the laminar product is a flooring product, the method may comprise laminating the roll of the carbon veil heating element between a top layer of flooring intermediate fed from a first roll and a bottom layer of flooring intermediate fed from a second roll. The first and second feedstocks may each be extruded. In an embodiment in which the laminar product is a floor underlayment, the first layer may comprise a film and the second layer may comprise a foam. Yet another aspect of the invention comprises a carbon veil heating element feedstock comprising a carbon veil heating element having a plurality of pairs of electrically conductive veil busbars spaced apart from one another along a width of the feedstock and the feedstock configured as a spirally wound cylindrical roll along a length of the feedstock.

BACKGROUND

Conventionally, floor heating products consist of either bulky electrical wires (which provide resistive heating) or bulky liquid tubes (which provide hydronic heating) installed between the floor and the sub-floor. Installation of a heated floor thus required the homeowner to install either the bulky electrical wires or liquid tubes directly onto the sub-floor, with the flooring material (e.g. tile, hardwood, etc. ) installed on top of the electrical wires or liquid tubes.

This process is time consuming, labor intensive and expensive. In addition, the heating elements (i.e. the wires or tubes) are placed well below the floor surface, due to the thickness of the flooring itself. As a result, the heat produced by the wires or the liquid filled tubes takes a long time to heat the actual walking surface of the floor.

Therefore, this process is not energy efficient and creates a long lag time between activating the heater and the flooring actually reaching the desired temperature.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES FIG. 1A shows a magnified image of the carbon fibers in an exemplary carbon veil heating element.

FIG. IB depicts an exemplary carbon veil heating element.

FIG. 2 shows a cross sectional comparison view of a flooring product having both a carbon veil heating element and a conventional wire/pipe heating element.

FIG. 3 shows a cross sectional comparison view of a flooring product having a heating element installed below the floor and a carbon veil embedded just below the surface.

FIG. 4 shows an energy graph of the energy consumed by the embedded carbon veil vs. a base heater installed below the flooring.

FIG. 5 shows a block diagram of the control system for controlling the heated flooring product.

FIG. 6 shows a flowchart of the operation of the system in FIG. 5.

FIG. 7A shows a first exemplary installation of an exemplary heated flooring product in which the floor busbars are recessed in the subfloor.

FIG. 7B shows a first exemplary fastener system for connecting floor busbars to veil busbars. FIG. 7C shows a second exemplary fastener system for connecting floor busbars to veil busbars.

FIG. 7D shows an exemplary pattern having visual indicia usable by an installer to determine the alignment of the veil busbars in an exemplary heated flooring product.

FIG. 8 shows a second exemplary installation of an exemplary heated flooring product in which the floor busbars are positioned on or in the wall, behind a baseboard.

FIG. 9 shows an exemplary system for manufacturing the heated flooring product.

FIG. 10A illustrates an exemplary Power Track busbar track for providing floor busbars.

FIG. 10B depicts a cross section of the exemplary Power Track busbar track of FIG. 10A.

FIG. IOC depicts a longitudinal section of two lengths of Power Track busbar track joined by an exemplary connector.

FIG. 10D depicts a longitudinal section of the exemplary connector of FIG. IOC.

FIG. 10E depicts a perspective view of the exemplary connector of FIG. 10D and portions of respective busbar to be connected,

FIG. 11 depicts an exemplary system for manufacturing the Power Track busbar track and connectors.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

One aspect of the invention comprises a flooring product comprising an embedded electrically conductive nonwoven carbon veil. The carbon veil is constructed of electrically conductive material, such as discontinuous nonwoven carbon fiber, such as is described in PCT/IB2016/000095, incorporated herein by reference. Generally, the carbon veil may be formed by wet laid manufacturing methods from conductive fibers (specifically carbon), non-conductive fibers (glass, etc.), one or more binder polymers and optional flame retardants. Preferred lengths of the fibers are in a range of 6mm to 12 mm, but may vary. Exemplary binder polymers may include polyvinyl alcohol, co- polyester, crosslink polyester, acrylic and polyurethane. Exemplary flame retardant binders may include polyamide and epoxy. Suitable wet laid techniques for forming the carbon veil may comprise a state of the art continuous manufacturing process.

Generally, the amount of conductive fiber required depends upon the type of conductive fiber chosen, the voltage and power which will be applied to the fiber, and a physical size/configuration of the heating element.

Carbon veils are beneficial for use in heating products in consumer applications

(i.e., flooring) since they have desirable electrical characteristics, are exceptionally thin, and are relatively inexpensive to manufacture. Shown in FIG. 1A is a magnified photograph of a representative portion of an exemplary nonwoven fiber carbon veil that is well suited in connection with the claimed invention. As can be seen from the photograph, the fiber sheet comprises a plurality of individual, substantially straight untangled fibers all of which fall within a specified range of length (e.g., 6-12 mm). While each individual fiber of the nonwoven sheet is desirably in contact with one or more other individual fibers as part of a nonwoven structure of the sheet, ideal contact differs from entanglement in that entanglement typically involves two or more fibers wound around each other along a longitudinal axis of fibers, whereas preferred contact comprises straight, unentangled fibers having multiple points of contact with other straight unentangled fibers.

Shown in Fig . IB is a top view of an exemplary heating element 100 comprising a carbon veil comprising electrically conductive veil busbar strips 204 and 208, which busbars typically comprise a copper layer coating over the carbon veil, and section 206 located between the busbars. Although not shown, in exemplary embodiments, electrical connectors are typically connected to each of the veil busbars to apply a voltage across the busbars that produces an electrical current flowing through the veil, which current causes section 206 to evenly generate heat resulting from the electrical resistance of section 206.

The carbon veil heating element may be manufactured at generally any size (length, width, and at any thickness, but preferably with a thickness of less than 1 mm, and more preferably with a thickness of <40 μητι, and having a weight of < 50 g/m2. The extremely low weight and thickness makes the carbon veil non-invasive such that it does not change the properties of a product into which it is embedded. Additionally, because the veil is porous, it lends itself to being embedded in products in which the product matrix impregnates the veil, such as in flooring products (e.g . vinyl, PVC, or other polymer flooring sheet products, linoleum, underlayment for tile, hardwood, carpet, etc. ). The characteristics of the veil are particularly beneficial for use in flooring applications comprising thin sheeting products, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) flooring, which is typically only between 3mm and 4 mm thick. The minimal thickness of the carbon veil permits it to be embedded just below the surface of the flooring (i .e., close to the walking surface) . Embedding the carbon veil just below the walking surface of the flooring minimizes heat up time and energy consumption.

PERFORMANCE OF HEATING FLOORING SYSTEMS WITH EMBEDDED CARBON VEILS

A comparison between exemplary installations of a conventional electric wire/liquid tubing heater and an exemplary embedded carbon veil is illustrated relative to a cross section of a floor structure 210 depicted in FIG. 2. Specifically, electrical wires and/or tubing 212 are shown installed between subfloor 218 and the flooring section 216. As shown in FIG. 2, the wires/tubes are buried a significant d istance below the surface of the flooring section 216 and by their very nature constitute relatively hotter linear portions defined by each of the wires/tubes separated by relatively less hot spaces between the wires/tubes. In contrast, carbon veil 214 is embedded just below the floor surface and evenly covers an entire a rea Al . Generally, the carbon veil produces heat Q over su rface area A2, which is transferred to the ambient air by convection . The equation for computing heat Q generated by the embedded carbon veil is described in equations 1 and 2 below.

ie:- 1 2 R = kAi(Ts-Ti) = HcA 2 (Ta-Ts) = Q heat flow (Watts) (1) d

Q∞ Aj k -ΤΊ) = A 2 He (Ta-T 2 ) where He = thermal coefficient (constant)

K =thermal conductivity of floor material Ti = Temp of heater element

T 2 =Temp of floor surface

Ta= ambient air temp

Ai = surface area heating element A 2 = surface area of generated heat (2) Tables 1 and 2 below show a comparison between the characteristics of embedded carbon veil 214 and wires/tubes 212 shown in FIG. 2, based u pon known characteristics of the Applicant's Power Film product, which comprises a coated carbon veil . The basic advantages of using an embedded carbon veil (Applicant's Power Veil product) a re not materially changed versus the Power Film product. As shown in Table 1, the temperature of the heati ng element for the embedded veil only has to reach a temperature of 33°C, whereas the tu bes 212 must reach a temperature of 49°C and the electric wires 212 must reach a temperatu re of 81°C to achieve the sa me temperature of 21 °C at the heated floor su rface.

Table 1

For heating a square meter assume typically: k = 2 W/m 2 °C - T 2 = 28°C and Ta = 21 °C

LaminaHeat Film Electric Cable Water Heating

Width =lmt Length lmt Diameter = 1.5mm Tube dia = 16mm

Length 12mts (twin core 75mm Length= 6mts (150 mm spacing) spacing)

= lm2 = 12 x 0.003= 0.036m2 = 6 x 0.016 = 0.096 m2

Ti = 33°C Ti = 81°C T, = 49° C

Eq l: - 1 x2 (24-33)= He (21-28) Eq 1: - 0.036x 2 (28-81 He (21-28) Eq 1: - 0.096x2 (28-49 Hc(21-28) - He = 1.43 m2 - He = 0.544 m2 - He = 0.576 m2 I NOTE: He is constant if we assume He =1 W/m2 "C this simplifies the calculations and so A 2 = 1.43, 0.544,0.576 m 2

Thus, heating the floor to a desired temperature with an embedded carbon veil just below the floor su rface on ly requ ires heating the carbon vei l to a much lower temperature than the electric cable and/or the water heating tu bes, the carbon veil based system consumes much less power.

FIG. 3 further i llustrates the impact of distance of the carbon veil relative to the floor su rface. For example, the carbon veil in position 302 (at the "base") between su bfloor 304 and floor covering 306, is roughly 8 mm ("d" in Fig . 2) from the top surface of the floor, whereas when embedded directly i nto the floor at position 300, it is only 2 mm ("0.25d" in FIG 2) from the walking surface of floor 306. In general, the closer the carbon veil is positioned from the top su rface of the floor, the more efficient the carbon veil will be in heating u p the floor su rface.

An example of the relative energy performance a veil embedded directly below the su rface and a vei l positioned between the floor and subfloor is shown in the plot of FIG. 4. Specifically, FIG . 4 shows a plot of ti me versus su rface temperatu re of the floor for heat flow throug h a woven glass/epoxy laminate, which approximates the d ifference in having the embedded carbon vei l heater just below the surface of the floor versus the carbon veil positioned in between the flooring and the subfloori ng . As illustrated in FIG. 4, the su rface temperatu re of the flooring increases more rapidly when the carbon veil is positioned just below the floor surface. The em bedded carbon veil utilizes approximately 42% less energy overall in the span of time depicted. Assuming 80% of the total energy is requ ired in the heat u p stage, and 20% of the total energy is required to maintain the su rface temperatu re over a typical ON cycle of the heater, the d ifference in embedding heig ht constitutes a difference that is essentially equ ivalent to (0.8 x 0.42) = 34% energy savings. Thus, the overall energy usage of the Embedded Power Film is 0.66 the value of energy usage i n the "Base" Power Film.

Table 2 shows the difference in energy needed for respective heating elements to supply the desired temperatu re, including the difference between positioning the carbon veil at "Embedded" and "Base" positions as descri bed above.

Table 2

Bas e Lamina Heat Power Film 100 W/m2

Embedded Lamina Heat Power Film 100 x 0.66 66 W/m2

El ectric ca ble heati ng systems 3.32/1.22 x lOO 272W/m2

Water heati ng systems 3.32/1.35 x lOO 246W/m2

EXEMPLARY HEATED FLOORING SYSTEMS WITH EMBEDDED CARBON VEILS An example of a heated flooring system 508 including a controller is shown in FIG. 5. Specifically, FIG. 5 shows a system with a heated floor section 510 which has a carbon veil embedded directly below its walking surface. Separate from the heated flooring product 510 are electrical (floor) busbars 512 and 514, as well as an optional temperature sensor 506. In general, during operation, controller 502 controls the power supplied to floor busbars 512 and 514 via power supply 504. Power may optionally be controlled based on a temperature setpoint of optional temperature sensor 506.

Because heated flooring section 510 includes the embedded carbon veil, during installation, the heated flooring product 510 is simply laid on the floor and then electrically connected to floor busbars 512 and 514. The floor busbars 512 and 514 may be integrated into a "Power Track" product that facilitates quick installation, as described herein later.

The operation of the heated flooring system shown in FIG. 5 is described in detail in the flowchart 600 of FIG. 6. In step 602, controller 502 receives an input from the user for setting a desired temperature (e.g., the temperature of the floor surface). The input device is not shown in FIG. 5, but can include a dial, button, touchscreen, etc. In step 604, controller 502 applies a predetermined voltage to floor busbars 512 and 514 which are electrically connected to the veil busbars in the carbon veil embedded within flooring 510. The carbon veil then produces heat in response to the electrical current flowing through it. In step 606, controller 502 uses either a timer or a control signal from temperature sensor 506 to monitor the temperature of the floor itself. For example, temperature sensor 506 (which is optional) may be in direct contact with the floor or in close proximity to the floor. In step 608, controller 502 then determines if the desired temperature of the floor has been reached. If the desired temperature of the floor has been reached, then in step 610, controller 502 stops applying voltage to busbars 512 and 514. If, however, the desired temperature is not reached, controller 502 continues applying the voltage to the busbars. The temperature sensor can thus cycle the power to the heater on and off as necessary, in accordance with any algorithm to known in the art for use in maintaining heated flooring or ambient air temperatures, to maintain a desired temperature at the floor surface or of the room, generally.

EXEMPLARY INSTALLATION METHODS

Embedding the carbon veil into the flooring product greatly simplifies installation of a heated floor. Exemplary installations of a PVC floor product with an embedded carbon veil are is shown in detail in FIGs. 7 and 8.

FIG. 7 illustrates a PVC flooring product installed in a corner of a room adjacent a wall. During the installation process, a channel 704 is cut from the subfloor. A recessed floor busbar system, including busbars 512 and 514, is then installed in this channel, such as using the "Power Track" product as described herein. Once the floor busbars are in place adjacent the baseboard 702 (also known as a skirting board or skirt board) of wall 714, the PVC flooring 700 with the embedded carbon veil may then be laid (e.g. using adhesive backing) over the desired area of the floor to be covered, including over the recessed floor busbar system. Thus, in the example illustrated in FIG. 7, the PVC flooring 700 not only covers the subfloor but also covers floor busbars 512 and 514.

To make electrical connections with busbars 512 and 514, conductive fasteners, such as bolts and/or screws or the like 706 and 708, are utilized to penetrate the flooring product through the veil busbars and into the floor busbars. Each conductive fastener essentially pierces the electrically conductive veil busbars of the carbon veil and therefore establishes an electrical connection from the veil busbars to the floor busbars 512 and 514 (i.e., respective positive and negative busbars are connected to one another).

FIG. 7 depicts exemplary cross sections of bolts 706 and 708 as well as an example of countersunk screws 710 and 712 that may be used. Temperature sensor 506 may also be installed inside the recessed portion of the subfloor (i.e., below the flooring) to be in close proximity to the flooring that it controls. Temperature sensor 506 (regardless of its installation location) provides the ability to sense the actual temperature of the floor, if desired, and report this information back to the controller. The connection between the temperature sensor may be wired (related wiring not shown in the figure, for simplicity, but the various connections required will be understood to one of skill in the art) or may be wireless, using Bluetooth® or any other wireless communication protocol.

In general, floor busbars 512 and 514 are connected to controller 502 as shown in FIG. 5. The controller 502 then applies voltage across these busbars which then conducts electricity through the carbon veil of the flooring product via the connection between the veil busbars in the carbon veil and the conductive fasteners 706 and 708 located periodically on the floor along the length of the floor to align with the veil busbars.

Alternatively, rather than create a channel in the subfloor, floor busbars 512 and

514 may be installed on or in the adjacent wall 714, as illustrated in FIG. 8. Although a channel or recess 800 may be cut into the wall to accommodate the floor busbars, the busbars may simply be installed on top of the wall and then covered by the baseboard.

In this example, once the busbars are installed on the wall or within the channel, the PVC flooring with the embedded carbon veil 700 may be laid on the subfloor. During installation, PVC flooring 700 may be cut to a greater length than the floor area to be covered, such that the flooring overlaps the wall a by a desired length (e.g. about 4 inches) to permit it to overlap the wall, wherein it is connected to floor busbars 512 and 514. The PVC flooring may be screwed directly to floor busbars 512 and 514 utilizing conductive fasteners in locations 706 and 708 or 802 and 804, similar to the installations described and shown previously on the floor, but in this case oriented on the wall rather than on the floor.

Once the flooring is installed throughout the desired area of the room, baseboard 702 may then be installed against the base of wall 714. The beneficial aspect of this embodiment is that not only are the floor busbars 512 and 514 hidden by the baseboard 702, but the fasteners 706 and 708 or 802 and 804 along the electrically connected edge of the floor are also covered by baseboard 702. This allows a seamless installation that is visually appealing, and also enables troubleshooting of the electrical connections by simply removing the baseboard rather than having to lift up a section of the flooring.

In the examples described in FIGs. 7 and 8, floor busbars 512 and 514 are connected to controller 502, which applies electrical current to the busbars. This electrical current then flows from the floor busbars through fastneners 706 and 708 and through veil busbars to create the electrical potential across the embedded carbon veil in the PVC flooring, which causes the carbon veil to emanate heat. This effectively produces an even heat throughout the entire flooring area due to the uniform resistance of the carbon veil and the more uniform coverage of the heated portions of the veil across the entire floor surface, as compared to the relatively small linear hot spots and relatively larger gaps therebetween created by systems employing electrical lines or water tubes of the prior art.

EXEMPLARY MANUFACTURING METHODS

As described, a benefit to the overall system is that the carbon veil may be embedded directly into the flooring sheet itself (e.g., embedded directly into the PVC flooring). This embedding process is performed during manufacturing of the PVC flooring itself.

Shown in FIG. 9 is an exemplary process for manufacturing a PVC flooring sheet having an embedded carbon veil. An upper layer PVC sheet 908 fed from spool 902 and a lower layer PVC sheet 912 fed from spool 906 are fed into a laminator 900, with carbon veil 910 fed from spool 904 sandwiched between sheet 908 and sheet 912.

Carbon veil 910 may be a "raw" carbon veil comprising only the veil with the conductive veil busbars applied thereto, or the veil may have a coating, such as a PVC or anyother type of coating, on one or both sides, making the veil intermediate similar to Applicant's Power Film product, to facilitate bonding of the upper and lower layers to the veil intermediate. Spool 904 includes a carbon veil pre-cut to match the widths of the upper and lower PVC sheet layers dispensed from spools 902 and 906, and has at least one set (typically multiple sets) of veil busbars embedded therein at a desired spacing from one another. All three layers are laminated together to produce a PVC flooring product 914 with an embedded carbon veil. Although discussed herein in connection with a PVC flooring product, it should be understood that a similar technique may be used for the manufacture of flooring from any non-conductive material capable of being laminated or otherwise joined together to sandwich the carbon veil therebetween. Additionally, although depicted with only a minimum number of 3 layers, it should be understood that additional layers may be present above or below the upper and lower layers sandwiching the veil as shown and described herein.

Finally, although well suited PVC flooring products that serve as the upper layer surface covering, the flooring products as described herein may refer to underlayments, such as may be installed under carpet, tile, hardwood, etc. Although the veil will typically be more than 1 mm below the uppermost floor surface when embedded in such an underiayment, the advantages of low energy consumption and evenly distributed heat are still present. Thus, for example, the flooring product as described herein may comprise an acoustic underiayment film. Typically such films are typically 1.0 to 2.0 mm thick with a 2-3 mm insulating foam backing. The carbon veil may be thus embedded between the film and the foam. Such a veil may be manufactured by a lamination process as described above, or in an extrusion process, in which the polymer melt from the film extrusion penetrates the porous veil and fuses the acoustic film to the insulating foam.

It should also be understood that although described herein with respect to a flooring product, the manufacturing process herein described is not limited only to floor coverings, but may also be used to create any laminar product for any use known in the art, and may be particularly useful for fabricating wall coverings as well as tarps or covers. In particular, a laminating process as described above may be used for creating a heated tarp or cover for a dump truck or other open top truck, to prevent ice or snow build-up during the winter that may otherwise create a hazard for other drivers when built-up ice sloughs off non-heated covers at highway speeds. Thus, for example, a carbon veil as described herein may be embedded into a 3 mm thick PVC tarpaulin layer during production, similar to the method as described herein for flooring, so that the veil is safely embedded approximately 1 mm below the outer surface of the tarp and activated via the truck battery by a controller. The controller may, for example, have inputs connected to a sensor configured to sense a combination of moisture and temperature at which to apply heat to prevent ice build-up. Power connections to the tarp may be provided using a power cord with a positive terminal attached to one veil busbar and a negative terminal attached to the other veil busbar, using connectors that affix to and penetrate the tarp and the veil busbars in the appropriate positions.

For manufacturing of finished products in sheet form, it is therefore beneficial to provide the carbon veil in a spool or roll form comprising the carbon veil of a desired width, with the veil busbars spaced at desired widths to provide a desired level of heating potential. PVC flooring manufacturers can then simply order a spool of a carbon veil of a desired width and length with veil busbars at a desired spacing to provide a desired heating capability. This spool can then simply be fed into the already existing PVC floor laminating machinery along with the other layers of the PVC flooring to produce an overall heated floor product.

POWER TRACK™

To facilitate easy installation of the flooring system described herein, sets of 2 or 3 conductive floor busbars may be integrated together into a single product comprising the busbars bound together in a common insulation matrix, as shown in Figs. 10A-10B. In an exemplary embodiment, each busbar may have a rectangular cross section of 20 mm wide x 1.5 mm thick, may comprise preferably pure aluminium grade or copper electrical grade materials of construction, and may have an extruded polymer sheath, such as 1.5mm thick PVC. Figs. 10A and 10B depict a 2-busbar product 1000 in which, for example, the "hot" busbar may be busbar 1030 and the neutral busbar may be busbar 1020, or vice versa, contained together in an insulation matrix 1010. Such a product may be manufactured, for example, as depicted in Fig. 11.

As shown in Fig. 11, each busbar at the desired width and thickness and materials of construction may be supplied into the manufacturing process wound on a spool. The respective busbars are unwound and fed through a tension controller and a preheating step, and into a die of an extrusion system that extrudes the plastic insulation around the busbars. The combined product goes through cooling trough and a capstan drive, through another tension controller, and then cut into desired lengths at a cutting station. The manufacturing process may also comprise a "spark testing" step to confirm the busbars are properly spaced and separated from one another in the combined product and do not present a risk of arcing or shorting, which testing step is depicted adjacent the downstream tension controller, but is not limited to any particular location after the extrusion and cooling step. The general process steps for extruding insulation onto a multiple metal members are well known in the art and further explanation is not necessary to be understood by those of skill in the art.

Returning to Figs. 10A-10E, the "Power Track" product may be supplied in one or more standard lengths, which lengths can then be joined with connectors, as depicted in Figs. 10C- 10E. As shown in Figs. lODa and 10E, each length of Power Track is preferably provided for installation with a predetermined length of each busbar protruding from the insulation on both ends (which may be accomplished as part of the manufacturing process by sending the cut lengths through a stripping station).

Connector 1040 comprises insulation 1060 surrounding hollow conductive sheaths 1050 and 1052, each sheath dimensioned to slip over the protruding ends of the busbars. The connectors may be manufacturing in a similar manner as the power track, except with continuous spools of sheath material, comprising a rectangular annular cross section as shown in Fig. D, supplied to the extrusion step instead of busbars, and the connectors are cut into much shorter lengths than the Power Track lengths. As depicted in Fig. IOC, during installation, a first length of Power Track 1000a may be joined to a second length 1000b using connector 1040. As shown in Figs. IOC and 10E, the busbars, when joined, may have a gap 1070, such as for example, 2-3 mm, between the busbar 1020a of track 1000a and busbar 1020b of track 1000b. The electrical connection between the 1020a and 1020b may rely upon an interference fit between the conductive sheath and the busbar as shown for busbar 1020b in Fig. IOC, or may further comprise a conductive fastener 1080 applied to pierce the sheath and busbar, as shown for busbar 2020a in Fig. IOC. The fastener design may resemble any of the other fasteners depicted herein, may or may not protrude completely through the insulation on both sides of the connector, but preferably any protruding features of the fastener are insulated either as provided, or by adding an electrical insulator over top, such as using tape or the like.

It should be understood that although depicted in Figs. 10A,B and D as a 2- busbar track and connector, embodiments with 3 busbars would be essentially identical, with one extra busbar. Similarly, it should be understood that single insulated busbars may also be manufactured using a similar process and connected together using similar, single-busbar-sheath connectors. The Power Track product as described herein is not limited to any number of busbars. Whether integrated together in the Power Track product, or separately, the insulated busbars may be manufactured in a continuous length and cut to length as required.

Although the floor busbars may be preferably provided in a Power Track configuration for ease of installation, the invention is not limited to any particular configuration for the floor busbars.

DETAILED INSTALLATION EXAMPLE

Below are exemplary details of an exemplary system as described herein. It should be understood that this example in no way limits the invention to any of the specific details or characteristics provided, but is merely provided as one example of an operative installation.

Connection system 1) Floor busbars (e.g. "Power Track")

Metal electrical busbars (typically 2 or 3) with a rectangular section 20 mm wide x 1.5 mm thick, with pure aluminium grade or copper electrical grade materials of construction. Busbars may be integrated in a Power Track product, as described above, or may be individually coated with insulation, such as an extruded polymer sheath, such as 1.5mm thick PVC. The busbars, whether integrated together in the Power Track product, or separately, may be manufactured in a continuous length and cut to length as required.

2) Fasteners

Metal rivets or rivnut, aluminum or stainless steel, 5mm dia x 12mm long typical.

CSK or flat head type. Protruding features of the fasteners are preferably insulated or isolated from where they might pose a risk of shock or current drain, either by the materials of construction of the subfloor and flooring materials, or by other means, such as an insulating tape covering, not shown. For example, as shown in Fig. 7B, rivet fasteners may be used in conjunction with recesses in the subfloor and may be covered by the laminated flooring to electrically isolate the fasteners, and bolts may be screwed into an insulating bolt fastener, and may be countersunk, as shown in Fig. 7C.

3) Assembly

a) Fix Power Track to wall using stand-off bushes (e.g. nylon 6mm long and M6 CSK fixing screws) or to floor using standard raw plug in floor for M6 CSK screw.

b) Lay floor covering with embedded heater, typically 1 meter wide or 2 meter wide, on floor and, if connecting to wall-mounted power track, up the wall to overlap the power track. Cut to length.

c) Drill 5mm dia hole through flooring and power track.

d) Install rivet fastener using automatic rivet gun.

e) For each heater zone or width (i.e. each section of the flooring corresponding to a section of the veil located between a corresponding set of veil busbars), install 1 fastener to positive ( + ) busbar and 1 to negative

(-) busbar, in positions that align with the corresponding veil busbars, which veil busbars are preferably clearly visible, such as in the cross section of the flooring on the cut edge, or more preferably to enhance installation, as marked with visible indicia on the upper or lower surface of the flooring. Markings on the lower surface may be permanent, but may require the installer to continually lift the flooring to ensure alignment. Thus, markings on the upper surface may be more preferably, and may be marked in a temporary or removable form, such as in an ink that is easily removed by washing with water or a floor cleaning solution, or in a floor covering having a permanent pattern or design thereon, aligned with a portion of the pattern in an easily distinguishable way.

For example, as shown in Fig. 7A, lines 730 may comprise temporary or removable markings on the upper surface of the flooring product, marking the centerline of each veil busbar 720 and 722 (hidden location of busbars shown in dashed lines) . The installer may know from the spacing which is positive and which is negative, or the markings may further include a marking that indicates polarity. Instead of temporary or removable markings on the upper surface of the floor, the flooring product may have a permanent marking on the underside. In another embodiment, shown in Fig. 7D, a pattern of the flooring may mark the location of the veil busbars. In the non-limiting and illustrative example, shown in Fig. 7D, each black square in an otherwise white and gray checked pattern may indicate the locations of the centerlines of the veil busbars as

corresponding to the lines dividing the gray and white squares that align with the black square. An infinite number of patterns capable of providing such a marking are possible.

f) Repeat for other fastener positions

g) Connect a power cable to each floor busbar at one end of the power cable and to thermostat or heater controller at the other end .

h) For a wail application, install baseboard to cover the power track assembly.

4) Power supply

Supply to power track may be via low voltage transformer 24-48 V DC or alternatively 220/240 V AC supply. A low voltage supply typically requires only two bus bars (Live/Neutral) in the Power track, whereas high voltage typically requires three bus bars (L/N/E) including the earth (ground) connection. A typical power supply for a floor installation of 4 meters x 4 meters may be 2.3KW. For low voltage (e.g. 48 V DC), 2.3KW may be provided using a transformer with primary voltage of 240 V AC, at 10 amps, and secondary voltage at 48 V DC, at 50 amps. SUMMARY

Heated flooring with an embedded carbon veil heats up quickly and consumes little energy. Carbon veils may be inserted into very thin products that traditional wires/tubes cannot typically accommodate. The carbon veil does not add any significant thickness to the overall product and will not negatively impact installation of the product. In addition, the carbon veil, due to its nonwoven structure, always maintains a constant resistance regardless of the size of the veil. This is an additional benefit relative to standard electrical wires, which have a non-uniform resistance, in which the resistance increases with the wire length. Similarly, liquid filled tubes also provide uneven heating over their length, because the liquid temperature drops over the length of the tube as heat dissipates along the run.

It should be understood that the invention is not limited to any particular materials of construction nor to any particular structural or performance characteristics of such materials, but that certain materials and structural performance characteristics may provide advantages, as set forth herein, and thus may be used in certain

embodiments. Furthermore, it should be understood that the invention is not limited to any particular combination of components, and that each of the components as described herein may be used in any combination with any other components described herein.

In addition, although the invention is illustrated and described herein with reference to specific embodiments, the invention is not intended to be limited to the details shown. Rather various modifications may be made in the details within the scope and range of equivalence of the claims and without departing from the invention.