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

  1. #1 I or H tiles and bricks for stronger, lighter assembled structures 
    Forum Sophomore Peter Dow's Avatar
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    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 the very particular shape of tiles and bricks illustrated in this image which I first posted in a topic in the Art and Culture forum, Thread: Tessellated I - my simple technical drawing, coloured artfully


    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.

    I intend further design developments to the I or H tile and brick 2-dimensional pattern I have described here - specifically fleshing out the simple 2-D design into a more detailed 3-D design which introduces further efficient tile-to-tile / brick-to-brick interlocking or making-rigid features to enable the tiles or bricks to be able to be assembled together then disassembled when necessary without having to be cemented together like a brick wall



    and without having to be glued onto a mounting surface like conventional tiles



    The aim is to allow assembly and disassembly of tile or brick structures such as can be done with Lego and Meccano (kid's building toys) and using common methods employed in the design of 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. The ability to disassemble is particularly useful for temporary structures, as is strength-to-weight ratio so that the parts of the structure can be moved easily to where they need to be erected.



    So I still have some design thinking and technical drawing to do and then I'll need a fabrication plan suitable to my own means of production, limited to making small models.

    For high strength-to-weight ratios for practical applications of this design, I suggest that materials useful will likely be metals such as steel and aluminium and for some applications plastics and in particular fiber-reinforced plastics offer very high strength-to-weight ratios and so may be even better.


    Last edited by Peter Dow; January 6th, 2013 at 07:23 PM.
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  3. #2 3-Dimensional model video 
    Forum Sophomore Peter Dow's Avatar
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    3-Dimensional model video









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

    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.

    These dowels may henceforth be referred to as "Mazurka Dowels" named after the username of a scientist in an internet science forum who first correctly anticipated this feature of my 3-D design and its function to hold the structure together in all 3-dimensions, in a reply post to my topic there describing in detail only the 2-D tessellation, suggesting somewhat vaguely that some such design element was required for a good 3-D design with a view to seeing who would suggest the solution I had thought of first.

    As I explained in that topic I could hardly call those dowels the "Dow dowels" there being too many dows in that name and anyway, my name can be used to reference this particular shape of I or H tile and brick and structures composed of them, as per "Dow tile" "Dow brick" "Dow I-tile" "Dow H-brick" "Dow I-H-brick" "Dow I-H-brick structure" "Dow I-structure" etc.
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    Last edited by Peter Dow; January 8th, 2013 at 08:57 PM.
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  4. #3 HI-BRICKS & DOWELS demonstration video 
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    HI-BRICKS & DOWELS demonstration video by Peter Dow (YouTube)

    Transcript of the video



    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




    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.



    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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  5. #4  
    Ascended Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Have you approached any brick manufacturers to ascertain their opinion of on the pro's and con's of an 'H' shape building block?
    Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it. - confucius
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  6. #5  
    Forum Sophomore Peter Dow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Have you approached any brick manufacturers to ascertain their opinion of on the pro's and con's of an 'H' shape building block?
    No.

    If there was a "brick manufacturers" (or other suitable) internet public forum which allowed me to post this topic in it I would certainly make that kind of public approach.

    I'd be interested in responding to an informed opinion from anyone.

    On the other hand I think that it would be a waste of my time to send cold call emails to company email inboxes.
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  7. #6  
    Ascended Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Well if I was you I'd be interested in professional opinions, so would probarbly pop down to a local brick factory and ask lots of questions about getting some made and using them, I suspect they would be quite happy to make them for you, most manufacturers can accomadate all sorts of shapes and sizes now, but I would also think they'll probarbly suggest a few problems with actually using them. Baring in mind you're not going to find to many bricklayers or builders who've used such a shape building block before they are going to find they take much longer to use than conventional bricks, also how many seperate surface areas do you have to apply the mortar to? You see this again would all add significant time to the building process, and as we all know time is money.

    Again I would say their may be similar problems with tiles, well ones that require grouting at least. What I will say though is I can't see any real problems with the shape for flush fitting tiles, so you may find it worthwhile to discuss these and gain some professional insight and if all goes well get some samples made. I could see the pattern being quite well received as designers and even big chain DIY stores are always searching for products to give a new more modern or interesting 'look' to generate interest and sales.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Sophomore Peter Dow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Well if I was you I'd be interested in professional opinions, so would probarbly pop down to a local brick factory and ask lots of questions about getting some made and using them, I suspect they would be quite happy to make them for you, most manufacturers can accomadate all sorts of shapes and sizes now, but I would also think they'll probarbly suggest a few problems with actually using them.
    The bricks and tiles I am talking about here will need to be tougher than the usual clay-fired or ceramic bricks and tiles are. I am assuming using new materials to make bricks - from metal, reinforced concrete (with rebar inside the brick), ceramic-metal composites "cermets", fibre-reinforced plastics etc.

    Since I am not intending to use fired-clay bricks, because I know their limitations - they tend to crack under tensile loads - I don't really need to be told that by a professional fired-clay brick maker.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Baring in mind you're not going to find to many bricklayers or builders who've used such a shape building block before they are going to find they take much longer to use than conventional bricks, also how many seperate surface areas do you have to apply the mortar to?
    There's no mortar needed. There's no room for a thick layer of anything between the HI bricks. At most there might have to be a thin layer of sealant for outer walls to keep the rain out and stop it freezing to ice in the winter. Possibly that sealant would be smeared on the bricks before adding to the wall, or it might be possible to spray the outside wall after construction, maybe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    You see this again would all add significant time to the building process, and as we all know time is money.
    So if my method is quicker - no mixing of mortar required - then that is money saved.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Again I would say their may be similar problems with tiles, well ones that require grouting at least.
    These tiles don't need a surface to attach them to. If you like, you could build thin walls with them for temporary structures.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    What I will say though is I can't see any real problems with the shape for flush fitting tiles, so you may find it worthwhile to discuss these and gain some professional insight and if all goes well get some samples made. I could see the pattern being quite well received as designers and even big chain DIY stores are always searching for products to give a new more modern or interesting 'look' to generate interest and sales.
    Thank you very much for your words of encouragement.
    Last edited by Peter Dow; January 15th, 2013 at 08:57 PM.
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