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Peter Dow

I Or H Bricks Or Tiles With Dowels For Stronger, Lighter Assembled Structures

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I am posting in the Projects in Progress forum because I am presenting my innovative idea for building with new-technology reusable bricks and tiles, without mortar, to make structures which can be dismantled as easily as they are erected.


These new reusable bricks and tiles will be required to be made from tougher materials than the usual fired-clay or ceramic used to make traditional building bricks and tiles. Instead, the bricks and tiles would be made from materials such as
  • metal,
  • reinforced concrete with rebar inside the brick,
  • ceramic-metal composites ("cermets") and
  • fibre-reinforced plastics.

Although my idea is available now for building materials manufacturers to develop and put into production, it will require investment of time and money by innovators in the industry before these bricks and dowels can be available from builders' merchants. So this is for the future but I hope that for now, you will find my idea an interesting read.


OK, well if you are ready, I'll begin.



From the engineering consideration that regular tiles and bricks are far from optimal in terms of adding strength to structures, I've been considering that better would be this very particular 2D pattern of tiles and bricks illustrated in this image which I call "Tessellated I in Steel".



Image also available on imageshack

View larger version of Tessellated I in Steel 1800 x 800


Representing a surface of "I"-shaped (rotated by 90 degrees, "H"-shaped) steel tiles. The shape is of square proportions, the column of the I being one third of the width of the square and the top and the base one quarter of the height of the square.


Here is an I-tessellation in paving stones -



Image source tess-elation website


But my pattern of I or H tiles or bricks is very specifically designed so that it can be developed into a more detailed 3-D design which introduces further efficient tile-to-tile / brick-to-brick interlocking or making-rigid features which solve some of the limitations and issues arising with structures made from conventional bricks and tiles.


Conventional brickwork structures need a weaker mortar layer to hold a brick wall together - http://nancymorris.c.../Brick_Wall.jpg


Conventional tiled structures need to stick tiles onto a mounting surface - http://www.granitetr.../steel-tile.jpg


These limitations of those brick-to-brick or tile-to-tile bonding methods make for weaker and heavier brick and tile structures than is ideal in some engineering applications.


In particular for temporary brick or tile structures, a high strength to weight ratio is desirable so that the parts of the structure can be moved easily to where they need to be erected.


In addition, temporary structures need the ability to disassemble the structure as easily as it was assembled.


We see examples of ease of disassembling a structure with kids building toys such as Lego and Meccano and in many manufactured products which use such typical features as nuts and bolts and bolt-holes but many other variations to secure one part to another strongly but in a reversible and flexible way.



Image source


So with those requirements in mind, my 2D I / H tessellation pattern was designed with a view to a 3D design of structures which I will now specify and show you a model to help me explain my 3D design more clearly.



3-Dimensional model video




Similar images viewing the model from different angles













Tessellated I or H bricks and tiles for stronger, lighter assembled structures


This video shows my model of the 3-dimensional shape of a simple structure composed of 6 bricks or tiles, each of which, when viewed from one-direction anyway, is a 2-dimensional "I"-shape (equally when rotated by 90 degrees "H"-shaped).


This model has been made from aluminium tubing and in order to distinguish one brick from another they have been coloured using marker pens - so there are two bricks coloured blue, two coloured green and two coloured red. This colouring was necessary for clarity because otherwise the permanent joints within bricks (which are only an artifact of the method to make a brick from square tubing) might be confused with the simple touching surface where two neighbouring bricks abut, abutting securely but without being in any way stuck by glue etc.


This 3-Dimensional model reveals a further design feature of the I or H brick and tile structures, which secures the bricks and tiles together in 2 further dimensions, some such feature being necessary because the 2-D I or H shape in of itself only secures the bricks together in 1 dimension.


This feature is revealed here to be nothing more complicated than dowels or fixing rods which run in the vertical direction of the Is (or the horizontal direction of the Hs) through shafts in the Is' bases and tops and which serve to lock the tops and bases of neighbouring Is together, preventing movement radially from the dowels.



HI-BRICKS & DOWELS demonstration video by Peter Dow


Transcript of the video



Image also available here


Hi everybody and welcome to my "H" / "I" Bricks or HI-BRICKS & DOWELS demonstration video.


This is Peter Dow from Aberdeen, Scotland.


There are two components to a HI-BRICKS & DOWELS construction -

  • the BRICKS, which you can either describe as "H"-shaped or "I"-shaped, depending on which way you turn them around
  • and the DOWELS


Image also available here


The shape of the "H" or "I" bricks is designed so that they fit together to form a layer or a wall of bricks and importantly, the bricks, just by their very shape, immobilise each other from moving, in one dimension only.


Let's have a look at that.


Let's consider this green brick here as the fixed point.


We can see that it immobilises its neighbouring bricks in one dimension. They can't move with respect to the green brick in this dimension. So that's locked. Even though there is no bricks here or here, the very shape stops it moving in that dimension.


Now the shape doesn't stop the bricks moving with respect to each other in that direction, or in that direction but they are fixed in that one dimension.



Image also available here


Now if we want to make a rigid structure of bricks in all three dimensions but without using mortar or glue so that we can assemble and disassemble the structure whenever we like, what we need next are the DOWELS.


As you can see, the "I" or "H" bricks have shafts running through the corners so that you can run a dowel through the corners - two shafts, four holes per "I" or "H" brick.


And when you assemble the bricks you can slide the dowel in ... and this forms a structure which is rigid in all three dimensions, which is what we need to form structures.

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