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Publication numberUS20060096180 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/245,680
Publication date11 May 2006
Filing date6 Oct 2005
Priority date6 Oct 2004
Publication number11245680, 245680, US 2006/0096180 A1, US 2006/096180 A1, US 20060096180 A1, US 20060096180A1, US 2006096180 A1, US 2006096180A1, US-A1-20060096180, US-A1-2006096180, US2006/0096180A1, US2006/096180A1, US20060096180 A1, US20060096180A1, US2006096180 A1, US2006096180A1
InventorsBrian Price
Original AssigneePrice Brian A
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Retaining wall block and grid system
US 20060096180 A1
Abstract
A retaining wall block and grid system for forming multiple course walls. The system includes a block having a front surface, a rear surface, first and second side surfaces, a top surface and a bottom surface, with the bottom surface including a downwardly depending projection that is configured to engage the rear surface of a block in a lower course of blocks. The top or bottom surfaces may be provided with a groove that is configured to receive a fixation bar, which may be partially wrapped or otherwise connected to a flexible anchor sheet or geo-grid so as to provide the block with a positive connection to a geo-grid. The top and bottom surfaces may be provided with grooves that cooperate to capture and retain a fixation bar and associated geo-grid that are positioned between adjacent courses.
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Claims(7)
1. A retaining wall and grid system comprising:
a plurality of courses of masonry blocks with at least two vertically adjacent courses, wherein at least one block in the two vertically adjacent courses comprises;
a body having a front surface, a rear surface spaced from the front surface, a first side surface, a second side surface spaced from the first side surface, the first and second side surfaces extending from the front surface to the rear surface, a top surface, and a bottom surface, with the bottom surface spaced from the top surface and with the top and bottom surfaces extending from the front surface to the rear surface and from the first side surface to the second side surface, with at least one of the top or bottom surfaces having a groove formed therein, with the groove traversing the width of the block from the first side surface to the second side surface, the body being free of through-holes;
an anchor sheet interposed between said at least one block and a vertically adjacent block and extending rearwardly of said block, and at least a portion of the sheet extending within the groove; and,
a fixation bar disposed transversely between said one block and the vertically adjacent block substantially within the groove in restraining engagement with the flexible anchor sheet.
2. The retaining wall and grid system of claim 1, wherein the bottom surface further comprises a downwardly depending projection configured and arranged to engage a vertically adjacent block in the plurality of courses of blocks.
3. The retaining wall and grid system of claim 2, wherein the groove is in close proximity to the projection.
4. The retaining wall and grid system of claim 2, wherein the projection is adjacent the rear surface of said block.
5. The retaining wall and grid system of claim 4, wherein the groove is spaced apart from the downwardly depending projection between the front and rear surfaces.
6. The retaining wall and grid system of claim 1, wherein said block further comprises a second groove, with the groove that traversing the width of the block from the first side surface to the second side surface, with the groove configured and arranged to substantially receive a second fixation bar disposed therein.
7. A retaining wall structure comprising:
a plurality of blocks arranged in a plurality of generally horizontal courses stacked on top of each other, each block comprising:
a top surface;
a bottom surface spaced from the top surface;
a front surface extending between the top surface and the bottom surface;
a rear surface spaced from the front surface, the rear surface extending between the top surface and the bottom surface;
spaced apart side surfaces extending between the top, bottom, front, and rear surfaces;
with the top or bottom surface of at least one block of the plurality of blocks further comprising a groove that traverses the block from one side surface to the other side surface, and with the spaced-apart side surfaces of said at least one block being non-parallel;
an anchoring sheet having two ends, with one end positioned between said block having a groove on one of said top or bottom surfaces and a vertically adjacent block of the plurality of blocks, and with the other end of the anchoring sheet extending into material being retained by the wall; and,
an elongated bar disposed substantially within the groove in restraining engagement with the flexible anchor sheet.
Description
  • [0001]
    This application claims priority from Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/616,572 filed Oct. 6, 2004.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    This invention relates generally to retaining walls. More particularly, the present invention relates to manufactured blocks that are used to construct mortarless retaining walls.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0003]
    Retaining walls can be both functional and decorative and range from small gardening applications to large-scale construction. Such walls are typically used to maximize horizontal surface areas by providing lateral support between differing ground levels, and reduce the possibility of erosion and slumping. They may be constructed of a variety of materials and shapes. Some have been constructed of wood timbers, others of rock in a natural form (such as limestone). Still others have been constructed of manufactured aggregate or concrete blocks.
  • [0004]
    Present mortarless wall building methods usually include laying a course of blocks, filling the space behind the course with fill material, packing the fill material, and carefully removing extraneous fill material from the top of each completed course prior to the addition of the next course, and then adding another course of blocks thereabove. However, as the coursework grows higher and higher, the ability of the wall to retain soil decreases.
  • [0005]
    There is a need for a way in which small retaining wall blocks are able to be assembled into multi-course retaining walls that are able to resist pressure exerted by soil placed therebehind.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0006]
    A retaining wall block, a geo-grid, and a fixation bar that forms a system that enables a wall to resist pressure from backfill or soil placed therebehind is disclosed. In a preferred embodiment, a retaining wall block comprises a front surface, a rear surface, opposing side surfaces, a top surface, and a bottom surface. The bottom surface is provided with a downwardly depending projection that is configured to engage the rear surface a block in a lower course of blocks, and an upwardly extending groove that traverses the block from one opposing side surface to the other opposing side surface. The groove is configured and arranged to receive a fixation bar, which may be partially wrapped or otherwise connected to a flexible anchor sheet or geo-grid. Preferably, the groove and the fixation bar are configured to cooperate in such a way that the bar retains a portion of the anchor sheet within the groove. This arrangement serves to positively connect the block to the sheet in a restraining engagement. It will be understood that one or more geo-grids may be connected to one or more fixation bars and unrolled into the backfill material that is placed behind the retaining wall blocks. As will be appreciated, the groove may be located between the front and rear surfaces of the block. Preferably though, the groove is located between the front surface and the block engagement surface of the downwardly depending projection.
  • [0007]
    In an alternative embodiment, a retaining wall block comprises a front surface, a rear surface, opposing side surfaces, a top surface, and a bottom surface. As with the previous embodiment, the bottom surface is provided with a downwardly depending projection that is configured to engage the rear surface of a block in a lower course of blocks. And, as with the previous embodiment, the bottom surface may be provided with an upwardly extending groove that traverses the block from one opposing side surface to the other opposing side surface. In this embodiment, however, the block may be provided with another, second groove. This groove extends downwardly from the top surface of the block. When the block in this embodiment includes both lower and upper surface grooves, the grooves cooperate to receive a fixation bar, which may be partially wrapped or otherwise connected to a flexible anchor sheet or geo-grid. As will be appreciated, the lower groove may be omitted from the block, if desired. It will be understood that the position of the lower and upper grooves may be positioned anywhere along the depth of the block from a point adjacent the front surface to the block engaging surface of the downwardly depending projection.
  • [0008]
    The front surfaces of the aforementioned preferred embodiments may be configured to have a plurality of planar segments or they may be curvilinear. However, it is understood that other configurations are possible. For example, the front surfaces may be planar, angular, or prismatic and have a wide variety of finishes. In addition, the front surface of a single block may be provided with alpha-numeric characters, or with simulative decorative characters or objects in bas or alto relief.
  • [0009]
    The present invention is advantageous in that it provides a relatively small block that is able to be used to construct relatively large retaining walls that are able to resist pressure from backfill material.
  • [0010]
    Additional advantages and features of the invention will appear more fully from the following description, made in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein like reference characters refer to the same or similar parts throughout the several views.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0011]
    FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of a block of the present invention, looking up to reveal the details of the bottom surface;
  • [0012]
    FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the block of FIG. 1;
  • [0013]
    FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view of the block of FIG. 1;
  • [0014]
    FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the block of FIG. 1;
  • [0015]
    FIG. 5 is a side elevational view of a wall constructed using a plurality of blocks depicted in FIG. 1, in conjunction with a fixation bar and a geo-grid;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a wall constructed using a plurality of blocks depicted in FIG. 1, in conjunction with a plurality of fixation bars and geo-grids;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 7 is a perspective view of another preferred embodiment of a block of the present invention, looking down to reveal details of the top surface;
  • [0018]
    FIG. 8 is a bottom plan view of the block of FIG. 7; and,
  • [0019]
    FIG. 9 is a side elevational view of a wall constructed using a plurality of blocks depicted in FIG. 7, in conjunction with a fixation bar and a geo-grid.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0020]
    Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown a retaining wall block 10 having a front surface 12, side surfaces 14 and 16 extending rearwardly from front surface 12 and intersecting rear surface 18. Top surface 20 is generally planar and continuous across its extents. Top surface 20 extends from side surface 14 to side surface 16, and from front surface 12 to rear surface 18. Preferably, top surface 20 is generally perpendicular to side surfaces 14 and 16, and also to front surface 12 and rear surface 18.
  • [0021]
    In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-4, front surface 12 comprises three sections, 50, 52, and 54. Section 52 is generally parallel to rear surface 18 and lies between parts 50 and 54. Sections 50 and 54 are angled such that they extend from section 52 and diverge rearwardly to meet side surfaces 14 and 16, respectively. Note that sections 50, 52, and 54 are shown as having split faces as opposed to formed or finished faces. It will be appreciated, however, that other finishes may be provided. For example, it is envisioned that the front surface may be provided with alphanumeric symbols or decorative images in bas or alto relief.
  • [0022]
    As depicted in the Figures, rear surface 18 has a smaller width than front surface 12 and side surface 14 and 16 converge rearwardly and intersect with rear surface 18 at oblique angles thereto. This forms a generally trapezoidal shape that facilitates construction of straight, concave, convex, or serpentine walls without producing large gaps between vertical joints of adjacent blocks. It is envisioned that the block may be formed in other configurations without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
  • [0023]
    The bottom surface 22 of the block extends from front surface 12 to rear surface 18 and from side surface 14 to side surface 16. The bottom surface 22 includes a downwardly depending projection 30, which may extend across bottom surface 22, Preferably, the projection 30, is situated adjacent rear surface 18 of the block. More preferably, the projection is spaced from the rear surface 18 by a rear ledge 38 (see, FIG. 2). Projection 30 has a block engaging surface 32, a rear surface 34, and a bottom surface 36, with the block engaging surface 32 configured to be positioned against the rear surface of a vertically adjacent block in an abutting relation. As will be appreciated, the projection provides resistance against normal forces exerted by backfill material against the rear surface of the block. Although not depicted, it is envisioned that the projection need not extend along the entire width of the block and that it may be divided into a plurality of segments, if desired. For ease of manufacture, projection 30 may be somewhat tapered so that the block engaging surface 32 and the rear surface 34 converge as they intersect the bottom 36 of the projection.
  • [0024]
    The bottom surface 22 of the block also includes an upwardly extending groove 40 that traverses the block 10 from one opposing side surface 14 to the other opposing side surface 16. As best show in FIGS. 1 and 2, the groove is situated adjacent the projection 30 and is spaced therefrom by front ledge 39. The groove 40 is configured to receive an elongated, fixation bar which may be partially wrapped or otherwise connected to a flexible anchor sheet or geo-grid. Preferably, the groove 40 and the fixation bar are configured to cooperate in such a way that the bar retains a portion of the anchor sheet within the groove. It will be appreciated that the groove and the fixation bar that is substantially received therein are may be complimentarily shaped, or may be differently shaped. For example, the groove may be generally U-shaped while the elongated bar may have an angular cross-section.
  • [0025]
    Referring now to FIGS. 5 and 6, two retaining wall structures 8 and 9 are depicted. In FIG. 5 the a plurality of blocks 10 have been positioned in a plurality of courses of blocks, with the projection 30 of each upper block engaging the rear surface 18 of a block therebelow. In this Figure, the projections 30 provide the wall structure 8 with an upwardly receding slope or batter that better resists normal forces exerted by backfill material against the rear surfaces of the blocks. By providing the blocks with a flexible anchor sheet and an elongated fixation bar, the ability of the blocks to resist backfill force is increased. As depicted, a fixation bar 60 is used to restrainingly engage a portion of a flexible anchor sheet or geo-grid 62 between second and third courses of the retaining wall 8, with the remainder of the geo-grid 62 extending rearwardly into the backfill material. Note that the geo-grid 62 is partially wrapped over the bar 60 and that the bar 60 and the geo-grid 62 are substantially received within the groove 40.
  • [0026]
    In use, as the second course of blocks is completed and the area behind the course is backfilled, an elongated fixation bar is positioned on the top surface of the block. Then a geo-grid or anchor sheet is positioned over the fixation bar and the third course block is placed on top. When the third course block settles into position, the geo-grid and the fixation bar are received within the groove, thus providing a positive connection between the third course block and the geo-grid. The wall structure 9 of FIG. 6 is a variant of FIG. 5 in which there are a plurality of positive connections between the first and second courses, and the second and third courses.
  • [0027]
    Referring now to FIG. 7, there is shown a retaining wall block 110 having a front surface 112, side surfaces 114 and 116 extending rearwardly from front surface 112 and intersecting rear surface 118. Top surface 120 is generally planar and extends from side surface 114 to side surface 116, and from front surface 112 to rear surface 118. Preferably, top surface 120 is generally perpendicular to side surfaces 114 and 116, and also to front surface 112 and rear surface 118. In this embodiment, the top surface is provided with a downwardly extending groove or second groove 144 that traverses the width of the block from one side surface 114 to the other side surface 116. As best show in FIG. 7, the second groove 144 is situated between the front and rear surfaces of the block and is bounded by a front portion 146 and a rear portion 148 of the top surface 120. As with the upwardly extending groove of the bottom surface, the second groove 144 is configured to partially receive an elongated, fixation bar which may be partially wrapped or otherwise connected to a flexible anchor sheet or geo-grid.
  • [0028]
    In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 7-8, front surface 112 is generally planar and generally parallel to the rear surface 118. Note that front surface 112 is shown as having a finished surface. It will be appreciated, however, that other finishes may be provided. For example, it is envisioned that the front surface may be provided with alphanumeric symbols or decorative images in bas or alto relief.
  • [0029]
    As depicted in FIG. 7 and 9, rear surface 118 has a smaller width than front surface 112, and side surface 114 and 116 converge rearwardly and intersect with the rear surface 118 at oblique angles thereto. This forms a generally trapezoidal shape that facilitates construction of straight, concave, convex, or serpentine walls without producing large gaps between vertical joints of adjacent blocks. It is envisioned that the block may be formed in other configurations without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
  • [0030]
    The bottom surface 122 of the block extends from front surface 112 to rear surface 118 and from side surface 114 to side surface 116. The bottom surface 122 includes a downwardly depending projection 130, which may extend across bottom surface 122 in a manner similar to the projection depicted in FIG. 1. Preferably, the projection 130 is situated adjacent rear surface 118 of the block. More preferably, the projection 130 is spaced from the rear surface 118 by a rear ledge 138 (see, FIGS. 8 and 9). The projection 130 has a block engaging surface 132, a rear surface 134, and a bottom surface 136, with the block engaging surface 132 configured to be positioned against the rear surface of a vertically adjacent block in an abutting relation. As will be appreciated, the projection 130 provides resistance against normal forces exerted by backfill material against the rear surface 118 of the block. Although not depicted, it is envisioned that the projection need not extend along the entire width of the block and that it may be divided into a plurality of segments, if desired. For ease of manufacture, projection 130 may be somewhat tapered so that the block engaging surface 132 and the rear surface 134 converge as they intersect the bottom 136 of the projection, forming a generally trapezoidal cross-section.
  • [0031]
    The bottom surface 122 of the block also includes an upwardly extending groove 140 that traverses the block 110 from one opposing side surface 114 to the other opposing side surface 116. As best show in FIGS. 8 and 9, the groove is spaced forward from the projection 130 by a front ledge 139. In this embodiment, the groove 140 is configured to partially receive an elongated, fixation bar which may be partially wrapped or otherwise connected to a flexible anchor sheet or geo-grid. Preferably, the groove 140 cooperates with a second groove 144 such that a fixation bar and a flexible anchor sheet are captured therebetween. It will be appreciated that the grooves and the fixation bar may be complimentarily shaped, or differently shaped. For example, the groove may be generally U-shaped while the elongated bar may have an angular cross-section.
  • [0032]
    Referring now to FIG. 8, a retaining wall structure 108 is depicted. In the Figure a plurality of blocks 110 have been positioned in a plurality of courses of blocks, with the projection 130 of each upper block engaging the rear surface 118 of a block therebelow. In this Figure, the projections 130 provide the wall structure 108 with an upwardly receding slope or batter that better resists normal forces exerted by backfill material against the rear surfaces of the blocks. By providing the blocks with a plurality of flexible anchor sheets and elongated fixation bars, the ability of the blocks to resist backfill force is increased. As depicted, there are two fixation bars 160 and 170, which restrainingly engage portions of a flexible anchor sheets or geo-grids 162 and 172 in a manner similar to the wall structure of FIG. 5. In this embodiment, however, the fixation bars and geo-grids are captured between opposing grooves 140 and 144 of adjacent blocks. Note that between the third and second courses geo-grid 162 lies above fixation bar 160, while between the second and first courses the fixation bar 170 lies above geo-grid 172. Although not depicted, it is envisioned that the upwardly extending groove of the bottom surface may be omitted and that the downwardly extending groove of the top surface be configured to substantially received a fixation bar and a geo-grid therein.
  • [0033]
    In use, as the first course of blocks is completed and the area behind the course is backfilled, a geo-grid may be positioned over the downwardly extending groove 144. Then an elongated fixation bar 170 is positioned on the geo-grid to urge it into the groove 144. Then a second course of blocks may be positioned on top of the first course of blocks. As the second course of blocks is completed and the area behind the course is backfilled, an elongated fixation bar may be positioned in the downwardly extending groove 144 on the top surface of the block. Then a geo-grid or anchor sheet is positioned over the fixation bar and the third course block is placed on top. When the third course block settles into position, the geo-grid and the fixation bar are received within the groove, thus providing a positive connection between the third course block and the geo-grid. The wall structure 9 of FIG. 6 is a variant of FIG. 5 in which there are a plurality of positive connections between the first and second courses, and the second and third courses. It is understood that the positioning of the geo-grid relative to the fixation bar need not be alternating as depicted in FIG. 8 and that positioning may be uniform, such as below the fixation bar, if desired.
  • [0034]
    The foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Furthermore, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described. While the preferred embodiment has been described, the details may be changed without departing from the invention, which is defined by the claims.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification52/1
International ClassificationE04H9/00
Cooperative ClassificationE02D29/025, E02D29/0241
European ClassificationE02D29/02E, E02D29/02D2
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
29 Dec 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: ROCKWOOD RETAINING WALLS INC., MINNESOTA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:PRICE, BRIAN A.;REEL/FRAME:016952/0716
Effective date: 20051222
5 Apr 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: MORTARLESS TECHNOLOGIES LLC, MINNESOTA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ROCKWOOD RETAINING WALLS, INC.;REEL/FRAME:019116/0834
Effective date: 20070206