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Патент USA US3058560

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Oct- 16, 1962
D. |_. RICHTER
3,058,550
STRUCTURAL UNIT
Original Filed Aug. 5, 1957
8 Sheets-Sheet 1
IN VEN TOR.
Oct. 16, 1962
D. L. RICHTER
3,058,550
STRUCTURAL UNIT
Original Filed Aug. 5, 1957
8 Sheets-Sheet 2
IN VEN TOR.
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BY
Oct. 16, 1962
3,058,550
D. L. RICHTER
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Oct. 16, 1962
D, L. RlcHTER
3,058,550
STRUCTURAL UNIT
Original Filed Aug. 5, 1957
8 ‘Sheets-Sheet 4
INVENTOR.
BY
Oct. 16, 1962
D. |_. RICHTER
3,058,550
STRUCTURAL UNIT
Original Filed Aug. 5, 1957
8 Sheets-Sheet 5
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Oct. 16, 1962
D. L. RICHTER
3,058,550
STRUCTURAL UNIT
Original Filed Aug. 5, 1957
8 Sheets-Sheet 6
INVENTOR
Oct. 16, 1962
3,058,550
D. L. RICHTER
STRUCTURAL UNIT
Original Filed Aug. 5, 1957
8 Sheets-Sheet '7
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INV§JNTO§.
DazzaZd 13. Racial?
BY
ATTO NEY
Oct. 16, 1962
‘D. L. RICHTER
3,058,550
STRUCTURAL UNIT
Original Filed Aug. 5, 1957
8 Sheets-Sheet 8
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3,6585%
Patented Oct. 16, 1962
1
3,058,550
STRUCTURAL UNIT
Donald L. Richter, Mount Prospect, 111., assignor to
Kaiser Aluminum 8; Qhemical Corporation, Uaklaud,
Calif” a corporation of Delaware
Original application Aug. 5, 1257, Ser. No. 676,223, new
Patent No. 3,026,651, dated Mar. 28, 1962. Divided
and this appiication Apr. 24, 1961, Ser. No. 168,702
36 Claims. (Cl. 189-1)
2
structural unit which because of its particular design
and construction eifectively resists ?exing and bending
after installation of the same.
A further object of this invention is to provide a unique
building structure made of structural units, which are
roughly diamond-shaped in plan, with the units being so
assembled together that the various load stresses imposed
on the units are directed towards the several vertices or
tips of the diamond-shaped units and wherein all the
10 metal in each unit bears its full share of the load.
This invention relates to building structures and the
It is a further object of this invention to provide a
components therefor. More particularly, this invention
spherical building made up of a plurality of unique
relates to structural units of integrated form, wherein
diamond-shaped, tetrahedral units together with novel
the individual units, when employed for fabrication of
means for securing several units to each other, wherein
a roof, wall, spherical building or the like, comprise both 15 the units comprise both the covering and structural
the protective covering as well as the framework of the
framework for the building and wherein the means used
structure in which they are incorporated. This applica
to anchor the building to the ground and the portions of
tion also constitutes a division of application Serial No.
the units constituting the framework are arranged along
676,223, ?led August 5, 1957, now Patent No. 3,026,651,
the arcs of great circles.
which application Serial No. 676,223 is a continuation
A further object of this invention is to provide a
in-part of application Serial No. 632,893, ?led January 7,
building structure made up of a plurality of unique diam
1957 and now abandoned.
ond-shaped tetrahedral units together with novel means
One speci?c, though not the only, environment in which
for securing several units together adjacent the various
the structural units of the instant invention may be em
vertices or tips of the units.
ployed to great advantage is in the fabrication of geodesic 25
Another object of this invention is to provide a build
domelike structures. Such domelike structures may be
ing structure made up of a plurality of unique diamond
of the type shown and described in Fuller Patent 2,682,
shaped tetrahedral units together with novel means for
235. The structural unit of the instant invention also
anchoring the structure formed ‘from these units to the
constitutes an improvement over any of the unit shapes
ground.
and composite building elements disclosed in that patent. 30
These and other objects of the instant invention not
Additionally, the structural unit herein described may
speci?cally referred to but inherent therein are accom
find general utility in the fabrication of walls, roofs, etc.,
plished by providing a building covering comprised of a
of more conventional design. When incorporated in
plurality of three-dimensional tetrahedral-shaped panels.
these latter structures, the structural units provide a
building structure having exceptional strength, lightness
and attractiveness. The individual structural units them
selves are unique in con?guration. They are also rugged,
light in weight and exceptionally easy to handle besides
being easy to fabricate.
Each panel in turn is preferably comprised of a sheet of
metal which is preferably diamond in shape. Portions
of the diamond-shaped sheet metal are progressively
bent or creased so that two opposing corners of the shape
will be drawn upwardly vfrom the normal plane of rest
Each of these units in a sense
of the metal sheet. The displaced corners are connected
comprises a tetrahedral section or building block, which, 40 by a bridging strut of any desired cross-sectional con
when associated with and joined to similar building
blocks, will form a unique covering for a building.
Accordingly, it is a primary object of this invention
to provide a unique tetrahedral type structural unit,
for use in building structures wherein the unit has an ex
ceptionally high strength to weight ratio.
?guration. The edges of the sheet metal shape are also
advantageously provided with marginal ?anges, while
the sheet metal itself may be embossed to provide it with
suitable delineations impressed into the sheet during the
45 shaping thereof, all of which will be more fully described
hereinafter. These delineations not only enhance the
It is another object of this invention to provide a unique
overall appearance of the sheet metal, but they also pre
structural unit, for buildin‘I structures wherein the frame
vent undesirable ?exing in the sheet metal during use.
work of a ?nished architectural design is automatically
Other objects and advantages of the instant inven
formed by components of the structural units, as they 50 tion will become more apparent from a review of the fol
are being emplaced.
lowing detailed description when taken in conjunction
It is a further object of this invention to provide a
unique building structure made up of a plurality of
with the appended drawings wherein:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective View of the unique tetra
structural units of the instant invention which are ar
hedral structural unit or panel of the instant invention,
ranged in such a fashion that the distribution of stress 55 with reference planes being shown to emphasize the de
approaches that of a uniform homogeneous shell under
similar loading, and wherein the units may be advanta
geously arranged in such a fashion that they form a
three-dimensional space-truss.
A further object of this invention is to provide a build
ing structure comprised of a plurality of unique struc
tural units, wherein each structural unit comprises both
a stressed skin ‘and part of the framework of the ?nished
architectural design.
tails thereof;
FIGURE 2 is a side-elevational view of the unit shown
in FIGURE '1, the reference planes being omitted ‘for the
sake of clarity;
FIGURE 3 is an end-elevational view of the struc
tural unit shown in FIGURES l and 2;
FIGURE 3a is an exploded perspective view of the
structural unit of FIGURES 1-3 together with the basic
components needed for securing the unit to similar units,
it is a further object of this invention to provide a 65 during the construction of a wall, roof or other cover
unique structural unit, which, when assembled with other
structural units of similar design will form a three-dimen
sional space-truss covering for a building with the vari
ous components of the structural units that form the
ing in a building structure;
FIGURE 4 is a plan view showing a representative
geometric pattern, that may be formed by plurality of
the structural units of the instant invention, when they
framework of the building being arranged in turn along 70 are joined together;
the arcs of great circles.
A further object of this invention is to provide a unique
‘FIGURE 5 is an example of one type of geodesic dome
structure, such as that disclosed in ‘Patent 2,682,235,
8,058,550
‘3)
ll
V
which may be advantageously fabricated from the struc
tural units of the instant invention;
FIGURE 5a is an example of another type of geodesic
dome structure that may be fabricated by using the struc
tural units of the instant invention and discloses one
arrangement for anchoring certain of the units located
along the perimeter of structure to ground piers in a
unique fashion;
FIGURE 6 is a bottom plan View of a suitable type
gusset member that may be used for joining a plurality
5.
The corners '4 and 5 are in turn connected to a suit
ably shaped strut member 6 which lies along and gen
erally coincides with minor axis NN. This strut is also
generally parallel to but vertically spaced from the plane
H and normal to the plane V. The relation between the
strut and sheet is more clearly discernable by inspection
of shadow line S which would be cast on the sheet as
shown in FIGURE 1. The strut is secured to the unit
"1 at the corners 4 and 5 by means of an apertured ?anged
sleeve member, which ?ts over the end of the strut, or
the ends of the strut may be provided with apertured
?anged portions 6’ disposed at the proper angle, with
suitable bolts 7', rivets or the like passing through open
ber shown in FIGURE 6 when taken along line 7-—7
ings 8’ in the ?anges 6' and in corresponding openings
thereof;
FIGURE 8 is a further cross-sectional view of the 15 9', or holes in the panel unit -1 adjacent the corners 4
and 5.
gusset member shown in FIGURE 6‘, ‘when taken along
Considering now the sheet or panel itself, attention will
line 8-8 thereof;
be given to the manner in which the arcuate con?guration
FIGURE 9 is a fragmentary perspective view of the
is imparted thereto. The basic sheet metal such as alumi
lower portion of the geodesic dome disclosed in FIGURE
of structural units together adjacent their long diagonals;
FIGURE 7 is a cross-sectional view of the gusset mem
5a and shows in more detail a unique arrangement for
num may simply be bent such that the corners 4 and 5
anchoring the dome to the ground by securing the anchor
are displaced from their normal plane of rest. However,
it is preferable that the sheet be provided ‘with delinea
ing elements to the proper reaction points on the dome or
sphere;
tions in the ‘manner and for the purpose to be described
FIGURE 10 is another bottom plan view of the gusset
member shown in FIGURE 6‘ when anchored to several
hereinafter. The sheet 1 is advantageously provided with
structural units adjacent their long diagonals; and with
roughly form a unique quilted pattern. These delinea
a structural supporting column shown in dotted lines also
tions or creases are advantageously impressed in the sheet
being secured to the gusset member;
during the curving of the sheet; in fact, the edges or
a plurality of delineations or creases 12 and 13 which
corners 4 and S are advantageously bent gradually up
FIGURE 11 is a plan view of the underside of a wall
or three-dimensional space-truss formed by the struc 30 ward to their predetermined position by creasing of the
sheet 1 to form the delineations 12 and ‘13 in a conven
tural units of the instant invention and discloses the
tional break press mechanism. This creasing is per
for-med by simply bending the sheet and without any
deleterious stretching or weakening of the metal at the
suitable gusset anchoring elements;
FIGURE 12 is an exploded view of the cluster of 35 points of bending or creasing.
manner in which three adjacent panels are joined together
adjacent their short diagonals by means of a cluster of
gusset anchoring elements shown in FIGURE 11;
FIGURE 13 is a broken front elevational view of a
ground pier and a structural unit anchored thereto, and
discloses the various accessories employed for securing
the structural unit to the pier and to similar adjacent
units;
FIGURE 14 is a sectional view taken along the line
“~14 of FIGURE 13;
FIGURE 15 is a sectional view taken along the line
15-15 of ‘FIGURE 13 with parts removed for the sake
of clarity;
FIGURE 16 is a bottom plan view of a modi?ed
cluster of gusset anchoring elements used to secure two
structural units together when one of the units is anchored
to a ground pier; and
FIGURE 17 is a side elevational view of a ground
pier, with 1a structural unit and sphere supporting column
anchored thereto.
With further reference to the drawings and in particu
After the delineations have been impressed in the sheet,
the marginal edges may be turned down to form the rein
forcing marginal ?anges 7 and 8, 9 and 11, whereby the
creases 12 and 13 if impressed on the sheet prior to
?anging will also be carried over into the ?anges. If de
sired, the ?anges may also be bent inwardly to form a
?ange tab 10. Delineations or creases 12 originate at the
corner 2 and fan out in sunburst fashion therefrom and
project toward the edges of the sheet as de?ned by the
corners 5, 4 and 3. It will be noted that no single line 12
45 substantially coincides with the major axis MM, all deline
ations being disposed at an angle thereto. Similarly, de
lineations or creases 13 originate and fan out from the
corner 3 to the sides de?ned between corners 5, 2 and 4
and again no delineations 13 coincide with the major axis
MM but are angulated with respect thereto. Thus, the
intersections of delineations 12 and 13 which take place
intermediate the corners of the sheet and the delineations
themselves form a unique reinforcing quilt-type pattern
lar to FIGURES 1 and 3a it may be seen that the unique
comprised roughly of a series of diamond-shaped ?gures
tetrahedral structural ‘unit or building block of the instant 55 and triangular ?gures of varying form and dimensions.
invention is preferably comprised of a sheet metal element
The purpose of this delineated pattern is twofold. First,
or panel 1, preferably diamond-shaped in plan view and
it will be appreciated that each of the resultant delineated
having a major axis MM and minor axis NN. In most
geometrical ?gures may be angularly disposed one with
instances after forming, the major axis or the center long
respect to the other such that the sheet will be arched or
diagonal of the panel will also be slightly cambered up 60 curved in the manner indicated. Secondly, the pattern
wardly from the true horizontal plane _H. Major axis
thus formed stabilizes the metal skin of the panel and pre
MM also lies in a true vertical plane V.
cludes to a great extent the so-called oil canning, ?exing
The minor axis NN is slightly above the horizontal
or popping of the sheet during installations. In this con
plane H but is normal with respect to the axis MM and
nection, it is to be noted that the arrangement or pattern
hence normal with respect to the vertical plane V. Al 65 formed by delineations 12 and 13 is such that no continu
though the minor axis NN is located slightly above hori
ous fold line is introduced into the sheet about which the
zontal plane H, it is normal with respect to the vertical
sheet might tend to fold or collapse. These delineations
plane V. The basic unit thusr‘descr'ibed includes corners
serve an additional purpose in that they act as a network
or vertices 2, 3, 4 and 5, corners 2 and 3 lying along
of reinforcing and load transmission elements, whereby
major axis MM and corners 4 and 5 lying along the 70 the loads impressed on the structural unit are directed out
minor axis NN. Thus, it may be seen that since the
corners 4 and 5 lie along the same line or minor axis NN
wardly in a very e?icient manner towards the ?anged por
tions and the vertices or tips thereof.
As indicated above, after the two sets of fan-shaped
of planes H and V, the sheet metal forms a curve passing
from corner 4 through the axis MM and thence to corner 75 creases are imposed on the metal sheet during the arching
and since the major axis MM lies along the intersection
5
3,058,550
thereof, the edges of the sheet are advantageously pro
vided with downturned stiffening or reinforcing ?anges 7,
8, 9 and 11, which extend from corners 2 to 4, 4 to 3, 3 to
5, and 5 to 2, respectively. These ?anged edges of each
of the structural units 1, as well as the struts and the long
central diagonal of the metal sheet, advantageously act as
the frame elements of the three-dimensional truss struc
ture formed by an assemblage of the structural units of
the instant invention in a manner to be more fully de
scribed hereinafter.
Corners 2, 3, 4 and 5 may also be
squared off for facility in assembling a plurality of units
together.
While the ?anging and pattern-forming operations have
6
be considered as having one face formed by the diagonal
on axis MM and diamond edges 3—5 and 5-4.; another
face by the same diagonal and diamond edges 3—4 and
4—2; a further face by strut 6 and diamond edges 4——-3
and 3—5; and the ?nal face by strut 6 and diamond edges
5-2 and 2-4. In any event, the result is still a tetra
hedral section.
When one section is joined to adjacent diamond sec
tions to form a series of building blocks, each panel sec
tion in effect serves as a three-dimensional beam unit.
The mathematical arrangement of this unit is such that
load stresses are ‘distributed substantially through all of
the metal and are directed through the diamond vertices
or tips. When all the diamond vertices of the various
been described in terms of separate operations, it is quite
possible and oftentimes most desirable that both the ?ang 15 units are so arranged as to fall on the surface of a theore
ing and pattern-forming be conducted substantially as a
tical sphere, remarkable structural strength arises as a
single step resulting in the formation of a completed shape
result. The overall effect is one of resolving all loads onto
as shown in FIGURES 1, 2, 3 and 3a, with the exception
the substantially uniformly stressed spherical segments or
of the strut 6.
structural units 1 in a fashion similar in principle to the
The strut 6 which connects corners 4 and 5, as is clearly 20 high efficiency of an egg shell. As a result, each panel or
shown in FIGURES 1, 3 and 3a, can be rod-like and can
structural unit 1 does not merely consist of a load-sup
be comprised of a tube, hollow bar or other structural
porting framework covered with idle sheeting but in effect
shape, preferably having a high strength to weight ratio of
is a stressed skin self-reinforcing space-truss unit in which
which a tube is an excellent example. The strut may be
all metal bears its share of the load. Thus, it will be ap
welded, bolted, bracketed or otherwise secured to the 25 preciated that such a tetrahedron-like element has con
arched, ?anged, and delineated sheet. The strut may also
siderable three-dimensional strength. The central por
be connected with the corners 4 and 5 in such a fashion
tion of the sheet 1 located along line or plane MM, i.e.,
the long diagonal, also advantageously acts in the manner
' that several stress conditions are imparted to the com
of a strut.
pleted unit. For example, if the sheet is bowed or arched
Having thus considered the individual units, several
beyond its normal condition when delineated and ?anged,
means of utilizing the units will now be described. One
the strut will be placed under a slight tensile stress, when
such use is the construction of domes, among them being
it is ?xed to the corners 4 and 5 since in order to ?x the
geodesic domes of the type shown in US. Patent No.
strut to the corners it will then be necessary to draw the
2,682,235. The patent mentioned discloses a method of
corners 4 and 5 inwardly. If, however, the corners of the
sheet must be drawn slightly outwardly from their initial 35 constructing domelike structures utilizing various geo
metric shapes along with a special assembled framework
bowed position as formed in order to secure the strut
of struts bounding each shape, whether triangular, diamond
thereto, the strut 6 will then be placed under a slight com
or the like. The instant invention is an improvement par
presion. If, however, the length of the strut and the
ticularly over the structure disclosed in the patent in that
distance between the corners 4 and 5 is substantially equal
to the strut dimension, then no stress will be introduced 40 it requires the use of fewer and lighter parts, in addition
to having general utility in other building structures.
to the strut. It will be appreciated, too, that while shown
as a diamond with the strut being parallel to its minor
axis, the sheet metal shape 1 may also be more on the
order of a square with the strut 6 connected to either of
the two opposite corners diagonally across the sheet. Al
ternately, the strut could be connected to the corners 2
and 3 of the diamond-shaped sheet so that it parallels the
major axis of the diamond. This, of course, will depend
upon the particular geometric pattern that is desired in
the ?nished three-dimensional truss structure or other 50
building unit formed from these units.
In the latter case,
Referring now to the manner in which the structural
units herein disclosed may be utilized in forming a general
ly planar surface, it may be seen that a plurality of units,
including ?anged and bowed sheet metal shapes 1 and in
cluding a strut 6 are joined at a common point such as is
seen in FIGURE 4. Six of the units have adjacent ?anged
edges in abutting relation. The struts 6 of each of the six
units approximately de?ne a regular hexagon. Located
at the vertex point A from which the respective units radi
ate is a suitable hub element or rosette-like gusset 20, an
example of which is shown in FIGURE 6. The corners
2 and 3 along the long diagonal of the units 1 are also
3 of the diamond~shaped sheet and parallel to the major
advantageously connected to this gusset 2t».
axis thereof, it is obvious that corners 2 and 3 rather than
In the case of the vertex point B at which the short
4 and 5 would be displaced upwardly from the plane of 55
diagonals of adjacent units converge, the short diagonal
rest of the sheet and delineations 12 and 13 would like
corners 4 or 5 of adjacent sheet metal panels may be joined
wise emanate from the corners 4 and 5.
together
and in turn be reinforced by a cluster 24 of an
There has thus been described a unique structural unit
other type of hub element or hublike clamp element, an
of unusual design and appearance. The sheet and the
various components thereof are preferably formed of a 60 example of which is shown in FIGURES 3a and 11 and
all of which will be described more fully hereinafter.
light metal, such as aluminum. The unit described is
Each rosette 2i} which may be an aluminum casting is
light, strong and possesses an exceptionally pleasing ap
comprised of a central hub or web portion 4% from which
pearance, when used in forming architectural shapes such
a plurality of spokelike members 42 radiate in the manner
as domes of the type mentioned previously, walls, roofs,
of a wheel. The center of the hub 40‘ may also be pro
ceilings and interior and exterior surfaces, and regardless 65 vided with an opening 43. Each spoke 42 is generally
of whether such structures are merely decorative or both
channel-shaped in cross-section and includes a web 44
decorative and functional.
and down-turned side ?anges 45. A. combination sheet
It is to be noted that the single strut 6 between points
and strut 1 is anchored at one of its corners 2 or 3, to
4 and 5 plus the formed diamond between points 2, 3, 4
a rosette 20 by having the corner of the unit 1 and ?anges
and 5 in effect de?ne a tetrahedron-like solid. The strut 70 7-11 or 8-9 overlap the ?anges 45 and a spoke 42 of
6, the diamond edges 3-5, 5—2, 2—4 and 4——3, and the
the rosette 20 adjacent to the point where the spoke merges
diamond valley between points 5—M and M-4 de?ne
with the hub 40 as indicated particularly in FIGURE 10.
the 6 edges of the tetrahedronlike polyhedron formed by
When the gusset 20 is in place, a certain amount of open
the sheet 1.
space will exist between the panel corners and the spokes
Considered another way, the tetrahedron-like solid may 75 of the gusset. These openings will be effectively closed
where the strut is secured to the apices or corners 2 and
7
3,058,550
.
78 thrust through the openings 68, 71 and 76 in the sev
by the use of an outside cover plate 21, as indicated in
eral hub clamps and a nut 79, all as clearly indicated in
dotted lines of FIGURE 10 and in full lines in FIGURE 9.
FIGURE 11. The rounded off portions 66 of clamp 62,
Plate 21 may be secured directly to the outside sur
as well as the rounded off bosses 65 and 74 of clamps 61
faces of the panels adjacent gusset 20 by means of an ad
and 63, also permit ready adjustment of the clamps one
hesive, or to the gusset 2i} itself by means of a suitable
with respect to the other during the period they are locked
bolt thrust through the opening 43. When bolts or rivets
together. The inclination of the bearing surfaces 64, 69’
23 are inserted in the openings 59 in the corners 2 or 3
and '73 also coincides substantially with the slope of the
of the unit 1 and similar openings 50' in the spokes 42 of
units 1 adjacent corners 4 and 5. The open spaces that
the rosette 26), the converging corners of units will be se
curely locked to the rosette.
10 may be present at the point where the cluster 24 of hub
clamps secure the short diagonals of adjacent units to
The structural units 1 are also advantageously secured
to each other at their ?anged portions 8 and 7, 9 and 11,
gether may be substantially eliminated, if desired, by
by welding or by means of bolts or rivets 54 thrust through
means of a cover plate 82 applied over the outer surfaces
openings 52 in the ?anges of the adjacent sheets. The
of the several units, the cover plate 82 being held in place
struts 6 are also advantageously interconnected to each 15 by a suitable adhesive securing it directly to the top sur
other in a unique fashion to be described more fully here
face of the sheets, or alternatively by thebolt 78. Such a
inafter such that there is effected a self-supporting frame
cover plate is shown in dotted lines in FIGURE 1.1.
work in the form of a regular hexagon which, when the
It is also of interest to note in connection with the
units are joined together, resists compressive stresses or
vertices B or points where the corners of the short diag
the like in which the units would be inherently weak along 20 onals of the structural units 1 converge that they form the
their minor axes.
apices of a plurality of pyramidal type units when the long
To the afore-described basic pattern, there may be
diagonal of each unit is considered as a frame member in
added additional series of structural units so arranged that
the over-all framework of the sphere or dome and with
the struts 6 are connected to the six vertex points B of
the long diagonal of each unit 1 serving as a base line for
the basic hexagonlike frame and radiate outwardly from
a pyramid. The strut 6 serves to connect the apices of
these points to the points R1, R2,, R3, R4, R5 and R6,
all as is clearly shown in FIGURE 4. It may be seen that
the edges of the sheets 3; of the integrated units now de?ne
a hexagon, the frame being comprised of a central regu
lar hexagon surrounded by six half-shaped formed hexa
gons, each of which has one side common to the original
geometric ?gure. Assuming now that the points R1 and
R6 rest on suitable reaction points indicated as S1 and S2
in FIGURE 4, it may be seen that the straight edge at the
bottom of the sheets may be continued by the addition of
a half of unit 20'. This latter unit may advantageously
have its strut 6 resting on reaction points S2. and S3. The
strut 6 of this half unit 2%" may also be omitted, if desired.
The means for securing adjacent structural units at the
corners 4 or 5 on the short diagonals thereof will now be
.
described.
each pyramidal type unit.
Finally, the manner of connecting the various panels
together, along with their struts at the short diagonls
thereof, is such that the struts on adjacent units are also
interconnected with each other whereby the struts advan
tageously transfer loads from one to the other. The out
side appearance of the building is also enhanced in that
gussets 20 and hub clamp clusters 24 are located inside
of the building and are concealed from the view of one
looking at the building from the outside.
By use of the structural panels 1 herein described, a
unique structure is formed having a geometrically-pat
terned spiderlike framework comprised of struts 6 and a
surface wall of undulating, marginally-joined diamond
shaped sheets. The geometric pattern of the frame is
generally a series of reoccurring hexagons. Each diamond
These means comprise a cluster 24 of hub clamps 61,
62 and 63. These may be made in the form of castings,
and each clamp is securable to a separate unit 1 adja
with its respective strut de?nes a tetrahedron-like three
dimensional structure and as shown in FIGURES 4, 5
cent the corner 4 or 5 on the short diagonal thereof.
to edge in such a manner that the space between every
three joined to the common point is also a tetrahedron.
Ordinarily, the short diagonal corners of three units 1
will converge at the vertex point B because of the geo
metric pattern fo-nned by the units 1. Thus, only three
hub clamps will be used. Hub clamp 61 includes an in
clined outer bearing surface 64 for engaging the bottom
surface of a structural unit 1 adjacent a corner 4 or 5
thereof and a partially arcuate boss 65 which contacts
and 5a, these tetrahedron~like elements are joined edge
Thus, the total assembly may be considered a three-di
mensional space-truss of considerable strength.
The
combination and interaction of struts and diamonds will
provide an exceptionally strong structural surface such as
a ?at single or double curved wall or roof. It will also be
noted that by appropriate portioning 10f the diamond and
the rounded off portion 66 of the hub clamp 62. Boss 65
strut dimensions the pattern de?ned by the struts in FIG
is provided with a central aperture 68 and bearing surface
URE 4 can be other than hexagons, that is, any number
64 with a plurality of openings 69. Openings 69 register
more than three diamonds can be associated about the
with corresponding openings 9’ in a structural unit 1 so 55 one common vertex.
that bolts or rivets 77 may be inserted therein to lock the
A similar construction may be used in forming roof
clamp to the structural unit. Hub clamp 62 in addition
structures. In such a case, it is preferable that the over
to having rounded off portion 6-6 also includes an inclined
all surface be somewhat arched such that the primary
outer bearing surface 69' for contacting the corner 4
support for the roof as such comprises the framework
or 5 of a structural unit 1. Bearing surface 69' has open 60 made up of the geometric ‘arrangement of struts 6 plus
ings 79 therein and rounded otf portion 66 has a central
the skin elements themselves and with the center line
opening 71. Openings 7% as in the case of clamp 61 regis
and the ?anged edges of each structural element in effect
ter with similar openings 9' in a structural unit 1. Clamp
also acting as struts in the manner previously described.
63 is also provided with an inclined outer bearing surface
Thus, the sole support for a roof area of large size such
73 for contacting the inside surface of a structural unit 65
as over an auditorium, theatre, threatre shop or the like
1 and a downwardly projecting rounded boss 74. Bearing
would be furnished by the ‘above described framework
surface 73 has openings 75 therein, while, boss 74 has a
in combination with a suitable sidewall structure leaving
central opening 76 therein. The openings 75 register
the enclosed area unobstructed by posts, columns or the
with corresponding openings 9’ in a structural unit so
like. In the event the interruption of the closed area is
that rivets or bolts 77 may be inserted therein to lock 70
not a prime consideration, the roof structure may be sub
the clamp to a structural unit. Each of the hub clamps
stantially level, the geometric frame being supported at
may also be provided with several sets of reinforcing
selected points throughout its expanse and with suitable
ribs. After the inclined bearing surfaces 64, 69' and 73
drain means being provided to collect moisture from the
of the several clamps are secured to the several structural
troughs de?ned by the bowed or arched sheets 1. Re
units 1, they are then secured together by means of a bolt
9
3,058,550
10
ferring now to geodesic dome-shaped structures such as
are shown in FIGURES 5 and So, it may be seen that the
shaped shim members 91 and 91’ are also sandwiched
in between the winged portions 90 and 90' of plate 82 and
?anges ’i and 11 of the panel unit 1. The wing portions
individual units may be utilized in such a manner as to
fabricate a dome structure of the type referred to in the
above-mentioned Fuller patent with reaction points S1
S7 being shown for the structure of FIGURE 5 and re
action points S8—S18 being shown for the structure of
FIGURE 5a.
It is to be understood that suitable sealants may be
applied between the ?anged edges of abutting units and
at the vertex points A and B where the corners 2 or 3,
and 4 or 5, respectively, of the several panel units con
verge. One suitable type sealing compound which has
been found satisfactory for this purpose is one known as
“Thiokol,” a synthetic rubber-based sealing compound
manufactured and sold by Minnesota Mining and Mann
facturing Company.
The preferred way of utilizing the structural units 1
to the greatest advantage, such that equal or near equal
stress distribution is obtained throughout the entire frame
work, is as has been described, that is, by forming an
9'0 and 91)’ of plate 82 are bolted directly to the base
U1
?anges 93 and 93’ of these shim members 91 and 91’,
while the upstanding ?anges 94» and 94’ of the shim mem
bers are bolted or riveted to the ?anges 11 and ‘7, respec
tively, of the panel unit 1. If desired, a ?tting 95 shown _
in dotted lines in FIGURE 13 may be inserted in the
opening between the shim members 91 and 91’ and
?anges '7 and 11 and tabs 1% to further rigidity the shim
members with respect to the ?anged edges of the sheet
metal unit 1, such a space 96 being shown in FIGURE
15. This ?tting 9'5 would be secured by suitable means
not shown both to shim member 91 or 91’ and the ?ange
tabs 11!’.
Pivotally mounted between and secured to the several
plates 85, outwardly from the panel unit 1, is the lower
extremity of a main support column 81. As indicated
in FIGURE 17, this lower extremity of the column com
prises a ?at plate 98 inserted in a suitable slot in the
appropriate series of approximately regular hexagons. A
column and then welded thereto. This ?at plate is
dome or sphere made up of such units and patterns is
pivotally secured to plates 85 by bolt means 99‘. Se
clearly shown in FIGURES 5 and 5a, wherein each strut
cured to the upper extremity of column 81 in a fashion
6, the long and short diagonals and the marginal ?anges 25 similar to plate 98 is another plate 100 indicated in dotted
7, 11, 8 and 9 of any two contiguous units are positioned
lines in FIGURE 10. vIt will be noted, however, that
along great circle arcs utilizing in full the geometry as
plate 1% is disposed at approximately a 90° angle to
taught in the Fuller patent.
plate 98. The top of plate 100 and in turn the column
On occasion the metal units 1 may be replaced by those
is directly anchored to a gusset 20 in one of the lowermost
made of plastic, glass or other transparent materials for
vertex points A on the sphere. As indicated particular
lighting and decorative effects. Windows, entrances and
ly in FIGURES 5a and 9, these latter vertex points A
exits may also be incorporated in the dome structure.
serve as the main reaction points for all loads and ten
In one form of the invention and as indicated par
sion and compressive forces transmitted through the
building framework, which includes, of course, the center
it is desirable to leave some open area adjacent the bottom 35 long diagonal of each panel unit, all as indicated in dotted
perimeter of the sphere, unique means are provided for
lines in FIGURES 5a and 9. These loads in turn are
supporting and anchoring the sphere to the ground. These
then transmitted into and through the columns 81 to the
means are shown particularly in FIGURES 5a and 9, and
piers 80. It will also be observed by reference to FIG
13-17. In this instance, the bottom extremities of a plu
URE 9 that each column ?ts underneath the strut 6 of
rality of panel units 1 are directly anchored to the ground
the panel unit 1, with which it is associated. By loosely
piers 80. Main support columns 81 are also connected
anchoring the base supporting panel units 1 and pivotally
to the piers 3t) and to the sphere at the vertex points A.
anchoring columns 81 to the piers 8t}, any expansion or
As indicated particularly in FIGURES 5a and 9 the
contraction in the sphere is readily compensated for. The
anchoring piers 8t} and support columns 81 are arranged
panels are also advantageously contained by piers 80 in
in perimetric groups to conform with the curvature of the
order to stabilize the sphere against translating, twisting
sphere and geometric arrangement of the panel units 1.
and rotating.
’
In each of these groups the centermost diamond-shaped
With further reference to the drawings and in particular
sheet and its associated column 81 are generally located
FIGURES 9, 13 and 16 in the case of where the corners
ticularly in FIGURES 5a and 9, in those instances where
.in only one inclined plane to the vertical.
The down
wardly projecting diamond-shaped sheets and their asso
ciated columns 81 on either side of the centermost down
wardly projecting diamond-shaped sheet and its associ
ated column 81, since they are radially disposed with
respect to these centermost sheets and columns, are in
clined in two planes.
As indicated particularly in FIGURE 13, each panel
unit 1 is anchored at a long diagonal corner to a pier 80
by means of a somewhat Y-shaped plate 82. The stem
83 of the plate 82 is inserted between the upstanding
plates 85 of the anchoring assembly 86 and loosely held
therein. It is not positively anchored between the plates,
and this permits freedom of movement such as may be
caused by expansion and contraction of the dome as
sembly as a whole.
Plates 85 in turn are welded or other
wise secured to a shoe plate 87 welded to a base plate
87'. Base plate 87' is anchored by suitable stud bolts 35
to the concrete pier 8%. The ends of plates 85 are welded
to the end covers 88’, and covers 88’ are welded to plates
87 and 87’. In the case of the panel units 1 which are
4 and 5 on the short diagonals of two adjacent panels
meet and are joined together, and where the corner 4
of one panel unit 1 secured to a pier $0‘ is also secured
to an adjacent unit, only two clamp elements are em
ployed, such as clamp elements 62 and ‘63. Considering
FIGURE 16 as a view of the joint between corner 5 on
55 the panel unit 1 secured to a pier and the corner 4 of the
adjacent panel unit and looking from the inside out, the
clamp element 62 is secured to corner 41 of one panel unit
and the clamp element 63 to corner 5 of the other panel
unit. In an effort to further strengthen the joint between
the two panel units, it is also contemplated that a roughly
Z-shaped reinforcing ?nger element 1®2 may be used.
Each ?nger element, as indicated particularly in FIG
URES 13, 15 and 16, includes a bottom extremity 1tl3
bolted to the base ?ange 93 of the shim member 91, a
Web 104- and an upper rounded and apertured extremity
1415 bolted directly to the clamp elements 62 and 63 by
means of the bolt 78 and nut 79.
From the above description it will be noted that when
a plurality of these tetrahedral blocks are assembled as
tilted or inclined in two planes, the plates 85 will also 70 described, such as in a spherical building, the total ar
be somewhat tilted with respect to a true vertical in order
rangement becomes that of a hexagonal strut overlying a
to accommodate the panel unit and support column 81.
three-dimensional covering of diamond-shaped panels.
The upper winged portions 9t} and 9t)’ of plate 8'2 are
The whole is structurally interacting to form a highly e-f—
inserted within the channels formed by the ?anges 7 and
?cient member which geometrically de?nes a shell seg
11 and ?ange tabs 10 thereon. Suitable elongated L 75 ment of a sphere. The resultant structure is also a true
3,058,556
ll '
.
12.
.
V
.
space-truss being triangulated three dimensionally, and
its normal plane of rest such that two corners thereof are
de?ning tetrahedrons. It is also geodesic in that the ver
tices of all tetrahedral building blocks or structural ele
raised from said plane of rest, a strut member connect
ing said corners, the portion of the sheet between said
ments fall in a series of great circles, which de?ne a
raised corners de?ning an are, a series of creases in said
sphere in the case of the building structures shown in
sheet, said creases emanating as a series of intersecting
radii from the corners lying in the normal plane of rest
of said sheet and the edges of said sheet being ?anged
FIGURES 5, 5a and 9.
The various panels and all accessories therefor used
in making the spherical building described are preferably
and de?ning straight corner-to-corner peripheral edges.
8. A structural unit as de?ned in claim 7 wherein said
made of aluminum although it is understood that other
materials may also be employed as desired. One ad 10 creases are carried over into said ?anges.
9. A structural unit as de?ned in claim 7 wherein said
vantage of the structural unit herein described is the fact
that the units can be made of larger or smaller size, de
pending upon the type of structure in which they are to
sheet and said strut are comprised of a light metal.
10. A building structure comprised of a plurality of
stressed skin tetrahedron-like structural units, each of
be incorporated. In any event, utilizing the units of the
instant invention, the area to be covered is calculated 15 said units comprising a four-cornered, generally diamond
shaped sheet, said sheet being bowed such that the two
along with the best possible size for the individual struc
corners thereof are displaced upwardly from the normal
tural units. Then by considering the edges as terminating
plane of rest of said sheet, the diagonal portion of the
in a series of half and whole hexagons or other polygons,
sheet lying between the other two corners of the sheet
the number of units may be easily calculated vwith a
constituting a load-supporting and stabilizing frame mem
slight compensation in turn being made for each unit
ber, a strut extending across said sheet and connected
such that once the appropriate geometric pattern is es
solely at its ends to said upwardly displaced corners, the
tablished, the remainder of the pattern is also established.
edges of said sheet being ?anged, said units being con
in all cases wherein the preferred form of the inven
nected in a regular geometric pattern such that a series
tion is used, an exceptionally strong, easily fabricated,
lightweight attractive structure is provided. It will be 25 of regular polygons are formed by said struts, means in
cluding hub elements connecting said units and struts
appreciated that various changes can be made in the de
together whereby said struts form a self-supporting in
scribed invention which are within the scope thereof, the
terconnected framework and loads are transferred from
invention being limited only as de?ned in the following
one strut to another strut.
claims.
‘11. The building structure as de?ned in claim 10 where
30
What is claimed is:
in the series of regular polygons formed by said struts
1. A stressed skin tetrahedron-like three-dimensional
are hexagons.
structural unit comprised of a four-cornered sheet metal
12. In a building structure a plurality of structural
shape, said sheet metal shape being bowed about an axis
units, each of said units comprising a four-cornered, gen
lying substantially in a plane dividing said shape from
one corner to the diametrically opposite corner, the di
agonal portion of the shape lying between said one corner
and said diametrically opposite corner constituting a load
supporting and stabilizing frame member, said unit fur
erally diamond-shaped sheet, said sheet being bowed
such that two corners thereof are displaced upwardly
from the normal plane of rest of said sheet, a series of
creases in said sheet, said creases emanating as a series of
intersecting radii from the corners lying in the normal
opposing corners of said shape and bridging the space be 40 plan of rest of said sheet, a strut extending across said
sheet and connected at its ends to said upwardly displaced
tween said last-mentioned corners, said strut also being
corners, ?anges on the marginal edges of said sheet, said
normal to said plane in which said axis lies.
creases also being carried over into the said ?anges, and
2. A structural unit as de?ned in claim 1 wherein said
means anchoring said structural units in a ?xed pattern,
sheet metal shape and said strut are comprised of a light
said means including a rosette-type element provided with
metal.
a series of radiating spoke-like elements, each of which is
3. A structural unit as de?ned in claim 1 wherein said
secured to one extremity of a different structural unit,
sheet metal shape has a diamond con?guration in plan,
whereby, when said structural units are connected to said
said strut paralleling the shorter of the two corner-to
rosette-type element and to each other, they form a
corner dimensions.
geometric pattern such that a regular polygon is formed
4. A tetrahedron-like three-dimensional structural unit
by the struts on the said units.
comprising a four-cornered sheet metal shape, said shape
13. The building structure as de?ned in claim 10 where
being bowed about an axis lying substantially in a plane
in the regular polygon formed by the struts is a hexagon.
dividing said shape diagonally from one corner to the
ther including a rod-like strut connected to the other two
diametrically opposite corner, the diagonal portion of the
shape lying between said one corner and said diametrical
ly opposite corner constituting a load-supporting and sta
bilizing frame member, a rod-like strut disposed diagonal
ly of said shape and connected to the other diametrically
opposite corners thereof, the strut being normal to the
plane in which said axis lies, said sheet metal shape also
being creased to prevent oil canning thereof.
5. A structural unit as de?ned in claim 4 wherein said
sheet metal shape and said strut are comprised of alu
minum.
6. A tetrahedron-like three-dimensional structural unit
comprising a four-cornered sheet metal shape, said shape
being progressively bowed about an axis lying substan~
tially in a plane, bisecting said shape diagonally from one
corner to another corner, and the bowed portion of the
shape 'being further de?ned by a series of creases emanat
ing from each of the said corners of the shape and a rod
14. As an article of manufacture for use as a building
panel, a four-cornered sheet metal shape, said shape con
stituting a combined frame and covering and said shape
being progressively bowed about an axis which lies sub
stantially in a plane bisecting said shape diagonally from
one corner to the diametrically opposite corner thereof,
the diagonal portion of the shape lying between said one
corner and said diametrically opposite corner constituting
a load-supporting and stabilizing frame member, the
bowed portions of the shape being further de?ned by a
?rst series of creases which emanate radially from one
of said corners, and a second series of creases, which
emanate radially from the other of said corners and in
tersect with said ?rst-mentioned series of creases at an
intermediate portion of said sheet metal shape, thereby
minimizing ?exing of the shape when loads are imposed
thereon during use.
15. An article of manufacture for use as a building
panel as de?ned in claim 14, wherein the marginal edges
like strut disposed diagonally of said shape and connected
of said shape intermediate the corners thereof are ?anged.
to a pair of diametrically opposed corners.
16. An article of manufacture for use as a building
7. 'A tetrahedron-like three-dimensional structural unit
comprising a diamond-shaped sheet being deformed from 75 panel comprising a generally diamond-shaped sheet metal
3,058,550
v13
shape, said shape constituting a combined frame and
covering and said sheet metal shape being progressively
bowed upwardly about the longer axis of said shape and
bisecting said shape diagonally from one corner to the
diametrically opposite corner thereof, the longer axial por
tion of the shape constituting a load-supporting and sta
bilizing frame member, the bowed portions of the shape
being further de?ned by a ?rst series of creases which
emanate radially from one of the said corners and a sec
14
wherein each of the said structural units is diamond
shaped in plan.
23. The building structure as de?ned in claim 21,
wherein the struts, the diagonal center line and the rein
forced margins of each panel are all located along great
circle arcs, with the strut of any panel combining with
the reinforced margins of the same and two contiguous
panels to form a three-way grid.
24. In a building structure, a plurality of contiguous
ond series of creases which emanate from the other of 10 structural panels, so constructed and so disposed with re
said corners, both of said series of creases intersecting with
spect to each other as to form a three-dimensional space
each other at an intermediate portion of the sheet metal
truss and a ?xed geometrical pattern, each of said panels
shape whereby the ?exing of the shape during use and
comprising a diamond-shaped sheet, said sheet being
when subjected to loads is minimized.
bowed about an axis coinciding with the long diagonal of
17. An article of manufacture as de?ned in claim 16, 15 the sheet such that the two corners of the sheet on the
wherein the marginal edges of said shape intermediate the
short diagonal thereof are displaced upwardly from the
corners thereof are ?anged.
normal plane of rest of the sheet, a strut member extend
18. In a building structure a plurality of contiguous
ing across the panel and connected at its ends to said dis
stressed skin tetrahedron-like structural units so disposed
placed corners, means anchoring contiguous panels to
with respect to each other as to form a three-dimensional 20 gether, said means including hub elements, portions of
space-truss, each of said units comprising a four-cornered
which are secured to the individual corners of each panel
sheet metal panel, said sheet metal panel being bowed
at the vertices on said three-dimensional space-truss that
about an axis dividing said panel diagonally such that two
are formed at the points on the truss where the corners of
opposing corners thereof are displaced upwardly from the
the said panels converge, and the long diagonal of each
normal plane of rest of the panel, the diagonal portion of 25 sheet which constitutes the axis about which the sheet is
the panel lying between the other two opposing corners
bowed also serving as a structural frame element in the
of the panel constituting a load-supporting and stabilizing
said truss, the strut members on the panels also being
frame member, a strut extending across said panel and
connected to certain of said hub elements and said strut
connected at its ends to said upwardly displaced corners,
members forming an interconnected self-supporting frame
means formed integrally with a panel and reinforcing the 30 work, whereby loads can be transferred from one strut
margins of each panel intermediate the corners thereof,
member to another strut member.
means including hub elements anchoring contiguous
25. The combination set forth in claim 24, wherein
panels to each other to form a ?xed geometric pattern,
certain of the hub elements comprise a gusset member
said hub elements also interconnecting the struts on adja
having radially disposed spokes, the individual spokes of
cent units with each other whereby said struts form a 35 which are secured to the corner of a diamond-shaped
self-supporting framework and loads can be transferred
from one strut to another strut, the contiguous rein
forced margins of any two contiguous panels combining to
form a structural frame element aligned with the strut of
sheet, which is located on the long diagonal thereof.
26. In a building structure, a plurality of contiguous
structural panels, so constructed and so disposed with re
spect to each other as to form a three-dimensional space
another structural unit of said three-dimensional space 40 truss and a ?xed geometrical pattern, each of said panels
comprising a diamond-shaped sheet, said sheet being
19. A building structure as de?ned in claim 18 wherein
bowed about an axis coinciding with the long diagonal of
each of said panels is diamond-shaped and the said panel
the sheet such that the two corners of the sheet on the
is bowed about the longer axis thereof.
short diagonal thereof are displaced upwardly from the
20. A building structure as de?ned in-claim 18 wherein 45 normal plane of rest of the sheet, a strut member extend
the said struts and reinforced margins of each panel are
ing across the panel and connected at its ends to said dis
located along great circle arcs with the strut of any one
placed corners, means anchoring contiguous panels to
panel combining with the reinforced margins of the same
gether, said means including hub elements, portions of
and two contiguous panels to form a three-way grid.
which are secured to the individual corners of each panel
21. In a building structure of generally spherical form,
at the vertices on said three-dimensional space~truss that
truss.
a plurality of stressed skin tetrahedron-like structural units
so constructed and disposed with respect to each other as
to form a three-dimensional space-truss, each of said units
are formed at the points on the truss where the corners
of the said panels converge, and the long diagonal of each
sheet which constitutes the axis about which the sheet is
comprising a four-cornered sheet metal panel, said panel
bowed also serving as a structural frame element in the
in turn being bowed about an axis coinciding with a diag 55 said truss and certain of said hub elements comprising
onal center line in the said panel such that two opposing
clusters of separate hub clamps, portions of each hub
corners thereof are displaced upwardly from the normal
clamp being secured to the other hub clamps in the said
plane of rest of the panel, a strut extending across said
cluster and other portions of each hub clamp being inter
connected with the corner of a sheet which is located on
panel and connected at its ends with said upwardly dis
the short diagonal thereof.
placed corners, means formed integrally with a panel and
27. The combination as set forth in claim 26, wherein
reinforcing the margins of each of said panels intermedi_
the strut members on the units are also connected at their
ate the corners thereof, means including hub elements an
extremities to the hub clamps in said clusters of hub
choring contiguous panels together in a ?xed geometrical
clamps.
.
pattern, said hub elements also interconnecting the struts
28. In a building structure, a plurality of contiguous
on adjacent panels with each other, whereby said struts 65
structural units so constructed and disposed with respect
form a self-supporting framework and loads can be trans
ferred from one strut to another strut, the contiguous re
to each other as to form a three-dimensional space-truss,
each of said units comprising a diamond-shaped panel,
said
panel being bowed about an axis coinciding with the
to form a structural frame element aligned with the strut 70
long diagonal of the diamond such that two corners of
of another unit in the said three-dimensional truss, the
the panel on the short diagonal thereof are displaced up
diagonal center line of each panel which constitutes the
wardly from the normal plane of rest of the panel, a stint
inforced margins of any two contiguous panels combining
axis about which the panel is bowed also serving as a
member extending across the panel and connected at its
structural frame element in the said truss.
ends to said displaced corners, means anchoring a group
22. The building structure as de?ned in claim 21, 75 of panels together at the vertices on the three-dimensional
3,058,556
7
i5
space-truss, that are formed by the converging corners of
the structural units which are located on the long diag
onals thereof, said means including spoke-like elements,
the individual spokes of which are secured to separate
long diagonal corners of individual structural units, and
means anchoring a group of panels together at the ver
tices on the three-dimensional space-truss, which are
formed by the converging corners of the structural units,
which are located on the short diagonals thereof, said
means comprising a cluster of separate hub clamps for
each of the last mentioned vertices, one portion of each
hub clamp being secured to the other hub clamps in the
said cluster and another portion of each hub clamp being
secured to a last-mentioned corner of a structural unit.
16
last-mentioned corners, said strut'also being normal to
said plane in which said axis lies.
34. A building structure comprised of a plurality of
stressed skin tetrahedron-like structural units, certain in
tegral portions of the units serving as the covering for the
building structure and other integral portions of the units
serving as a framework for the building structure, each of
said units comprising a four-cornered sheet, said sheet
being bowed such that two oppositely disposed corners
thereof are displaced upwardly from the normal plane of
rest of said sheet, a strut extending across said sheet and
connected at its ends to‘said upwardly displaced corners,
said units being connected in a regular geometric pattern
such that a series of regular polygons are formed by said
29. In a building of generally spherical form, a plural 15 struts and said struts forming a self-supporting frame
work, the portion of such sheet which constitutes the
ity of structural units so disposed and secured to each
axis about which the sheet is bowed also constituting
other as to form a three-dimensional space-truss, each of
a structural frame element of the framework, means in
said units comprising a four-cornered sheet metal panel,
cluding hub elements connecting said struts together
said panel in turn being bowed about an axis coinciding
with a diagonal center line in the said panel, such that 20 whereby said struts can form said self-supporting frame
work and loads can be transferred from one strut to an
two opposing corners thereof are displaced upwardly from
other strut.
the normal plane of rest of the panel, a strut member ex
35. A tetrahedron-like three-dimensional structural unit
tending across and connected at its ends to said upwardly
V displaced corners, means securing contiguous panels to
gether, said means including a ?rst hub means securing
together the converging corners of a plurality of panels
which corners are located along the said diagonal center
line thereof, a second hub means securing other converg
ing corners of a plurality of panels together, said last
mentioned corners being located along the other diagonal
lines of the said panels, said second hub means compris
ing a plurality of clamp-like elements individually adjust
able with respect to each other, said clamp-like elements
being connected to each other and to the last mentioned
corners on different panels.
30. The building structure as de?ned in claim 29 where
in the ends of the strut members on the said panels are
also connected to said clamp-like elements.
v31. The combination as set forth in claim 29 wherein
each of said clamp-like elements comprises a panel corner 40
engaging portion and an apertured end portion, and com
mon means for securing said clamp-like elements together
at the said end portions thereof.
32. The building as de?ned in claim 29 wherein the
comprising a four-cornered sheet metal shape, said shape
being bowed about an axis lying substantially in a plane
dividing said shape diagonally from one corner to the
diametrically opposite corner, the diagonal portion of the
shape lying between said one corner and said diametri
cally opposite corner constituting a load-supporting and
stabilizing frame member, a strut disposed diagonally of
said shape and connected to the other diametrically oppo
site corners thereof, the strut being normal to the plane
in which said axis lies, said sheet metal shape also being
creased to prevent oil canning thereof-and with the creases
comprising a series of intersecting radii emanating from
the corners through which the plane containing the said
axis lies.
36. In a building structure, a plurality of tetrahedron
like three-dimensional structural units, each of said units
comprising a four-cornered, generally diamond-shaped
sheet, said sheet being bowed such that two corners there
of are displaced upwardly from the normal plane of rest
of said sheet, the diagonal portion of the sheet lying be
tween the other two corners thereof constituting a load
structural units are comprised of diamond-shaped panels, 45 supporting and stabilizing frame member, a strut extend
said ?rst-mentioned hub means securing those panel cor
ners together, which are located on the long diagonal of
the diamond-shaped panels and with said second-men
tioned hub means securing the panel corners together,
which are located on the short diagonal of the diamond
shaped panels.
33. As an article of manufacture a stressed skin tetrahe
dron-like three-dimensional structural unit adaptable for
use in a building structure, with certain integral portions
of the unit serving as the covering and other integral por
tions of the unit serving as the framework of the said
building structure, said unit comprising a four-cornered
sheet, said sheet being bowedsabout an axis lying substan
tially in a plane dividing said sheet from one corner to
the diametrically opposite corner, the diagonal portion
ing across said sheet and connected at its ends to said up
wardly displaced corners, ?anges on the marginal edges of
said sheet and means anchoring said structural units in a
?xed pattern, said means including a wheel-like member
provided with spoke elements, each of which is secured
to one extremity of a structural unit, whereby when said
structural units are connected with said wheel-like mem
ber and to each other they form a geometric pattern such
that a regular polygon is formed by the struts on said units
and each of said sheets being provided, with a series of
creases which emanate as a series of intersecting radii
from certain opposing corners of said sheet.
References Cited in the ?le of this patent
UNITED STATES PATENTS
of the sheet lying between said one corner and said dia
2,383,370
Dean ____ ___ _________ __ Aug. 21, 1945
metrically opposite corner constituting a load-supporting
and stabilizing frame member, said unit further including
2,484,096
2,682,235
Kay ___ _____________ __ Oct. 11, 1949
Fuller ______________ __ June 29, 1954
a rod-like strut connected to the other two opposing cor
2,725,126
2,918,992
Ely ____'_ ____________ __ Nov. 29, 1955
Gelsavage ___ _________ __ Dec. 29, 1959
ners of said sheet and bridging the space between said 65
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