US 20040040245 A1
A compressed building block formed of a pre-mix of fly ash, either of the Class C type, or provided from sugar beet waste lime, are combined with either ground or pulverized wood and/or chips, or with fine sand, having a small amount of Portland cement added thereto, moisturized, and then either extruded or compressed in a press into the configuration of a block. A fire retardant, and an insecticide, may be added to the composition, to provide the formed block with further beneficial attributes. The blocks may be formed by a system for extruding such blocks from the formulation, or they may be formed by means of a hydraulic or other press and pressed into the configuration of the desired block, needed for the construction.
1. Construction of a building block, one fabricated essentially from waste materials, that block being fabricated from molding or extruding into a high strength, light weight building block, said block fabricated into a multi-sided integrated block, and molded from a formulation of ingredients including class C fly ash in a range of about fifty percent (50%) to sixty five percent (65%) by weight of the molded block, ground celuostic material such a wood shavings, saw dust, and wood chips, mixed in the formulation between about thirty five percent (35%) to fifty percent (50%) by weight of the mixed formulation, and a Portland cement added in the range of one half percent (½%) to three percent (3%) to furnish adhesion to the ingredients when molded into block form.
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 This invention relates principally to a building block, one that is constructed, generally of waste material, such as fly ash, and can be either extruded or compressed under pressure into the fabrication of a building block for use for constructing buildings or the like.
 There are numerous building blocks that are available in the art for use for the construction primarily of commercial com-industrial type of buildings, and even some of such blocks are used for constructing residential homes, as known. For example, most of these blocks are fabricated from concrete, poured into a form, left to cure, and then removed, and allowed to dry, in preparation for usage. Blocks of this type, generally of a concrete type block, can be constructed to a variety of shapes.
 Various prior art types of blocks, usually of the molded type, can be seen in the prior patent to Haener, U.S. Pat. No. 5,822,939, identified as An Insulated Building Block System. The patent to Putnam, U.S. Pat. No. 2,319,345, discloses another type of Fabricated Building Block. The patent to Crespo, U.S. Pat. No. 4,514,949, shows an Interlocking System for Building Walls, and it should particularly be noted that the shown block includes openings, and through which reinforcing rods may locate, during building fabrication. The patent to Schmall, U.S. Pat. No. 513,423, discloses another form of Building Block. The patent to Sherwood, U.S. Pat. No. 5,715,635, discloses a Building Block Unit and Method of Manufacturing the Same. This includes an interlocking type of feature that can hold the blocks together, even perhaps without connecting mortar. The patent to Stenekes, U.S. Pat. No. 6,065,265, shows A Corner and End Block for Interlocking Building Blocks System.
 The patent to Hancock, U.S. Pat. No. 3,355,849, shows a Building Wall and Tapered Interfitting Blocks Therefore. Another patent to Hancock, U.S. Pat. No. 3,936,989, shows an Interlocking Building Type of Block That Can Be Fabricated into a Wall System, even perhaps with or without the use of mortar. U.S. Pat. No. 4,126,979, to Hancock, shows another Interlocking Form of Building Block.
 The current invention is designed to provide for the construction of a building block, by a variety of methods, but one which utilizes extensively what are currently considered as waste products, in the category of wood chips, sawdust, fly ash, and other types of ash products, even that which may be esoterically created upon the burn-off of beets, plants, and leafage, which normally is discarded. The resulting fly ash from the burning of this type of waste material has been found to be effective has an ingredient to the formation of building blocks for industrial usage.
 For example, the United States patent to Strabala, U.S. Pat. No. 5,534,058, discloses a structural product fabricated from waste materials, and its method of making the same. The product includes as ingredients fly ash, cellulose-based material, and an adhesive binder for holding these ingredients together. The patent states that the composition is particularly useful for forming structural products such as bricks, panels, roof shingles, studs, and the like. More specifically, the patent defines that the structural product, which may also be formed into blocks, comprises a substantially homogeneous blend from seventy to eighty five percent (70 to 85%) by weight of a Class C fly ash, or a mixture of Class C fly ash and Class F fly ash. The mixture further includes about fifteen to thirty percent (15 to 30%) by weight of a cellulose based material, which can be pulp, wood, sawdust, pulverized cardboard, or the like. The block further includes an adhesive binder, which is categorized as an adhesive bindery emulsion, even one which can be mixed with water to form a liquid, but preferably the adhesive binder is defined as polyvinyl acetate, which can be added to the composition as a polyvinyl acetate emulsion. The composition also includes an inner filler, and such material may include lime, Class F fly ash, or bottom ash, up to about thirty five percent (35%) by weight of the total weight of the composition.
 The current invention likewise utilizes a fly ash as a primary ingredient, but varies substantially from what is identified in the Strabala patent, utilizing either a molding or pressure application to form its composite blocks, for use for a related purpose, and that is for building purposes.
 Other prior art patents identifying the use of fly ash, as an ingredient for forming insulating and ceramic materials, and the like, include the United States patent to Sicka, U.S. Pat. No. 3,625,723, for Foamed Ceramic Comprising Fly Ash and Phosphoric Acid. U.S. Pat. No. 1,608,562, to Melandri, defines the Manufacture of Building Blocks, Slabs, Floors, Ceilings, Tiles, and the Like, from a mixture of fibers and cementous material, and hydrated lime. The patent to Halwani, U.S. Pat. No. 5,504,211, describes a Lightweight Block Containing Stabilized Wood Aggregates. The patent to Riddle, U.S. Pat. No. 5,366,548, explains the use of Volcanic Fly Ash and Kiln Dust Compositions, and a Process for Making Articles Therefrom. The patent to Patterson, U.S. Pat. No. 5,350,451, explains a Building Material Made From Waste Paper and a Method for Producing the Same. The patent to Wada, et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,154,771, explains a Hydraulic Inorganic Composition and Molded Articles Thereof. The patent to Lempfer, et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,102,596, explains the Method of Producing Shaped Articles of Fiber/Binder Mixtures. The patent to Elias, U.S. Pat. No. 5,048,250, shows another type of Building Block. The patent to Vinson, et al., U.S. Pat. No. 4,985,119, shows a Cellulose Fiber-Reinforced Structure. The patent to Baes, U.S. Pat. No. 4,840,672, explains that Lightweight Insulating Boards and Process for Manufacturing the Same. The patent to Costopoulos, et al., U.S. Pat. No. 4,659,385, shows a Building Material Manufacturing from Fly Ash. The patent to Barrable, U.S. Pat. No. 4,132,555, explains a Building Board. Finally, the patent to Nutt, U.S. Pat. No. 3,753,749, shows other Concrete Compositions.
 This invention relates primarily to the construction of a unique building block, one fabricated totally from waste materials, and a number of systems by which the block may be fabricated and molded, into a high strength, lightweight finished product.
 This invention contemplates three aspects relating to its concept, initially, the formulation and type of building block constructed, and two methods or system by which the block may be fabricated, in preparation for usage.
 Essentially, the building block of this invention can be fabricated of the open cavity type, but preferably, is constructed into the configuration of a solid block, thereby providing it with greater strength and less acceptable to fracture, because of the solid integrated nature of its construction. Because of the type of waste materials from which the block is fabricated has to be sub sequentially described, and which may include some elements of wood pulp, or the like, the block will accept and hold a nail, screw, or the like, so that supplemental sheeting, rather exteriorly or interiorly, can be applied and held directly to it, during fabrication of a building. Furthermore, because of the inherent nature of its ingredients, it can also be subject to cutting by a power saw, or the like. In addition, the block of this invention, because of its composition, has enhanced thermal resistant characteristics, as can be understood. In addition, it can be treated, with other ingredients, such as a boride, to render it fire resistant and provide excellent termite resistance. It can function as a sound insulation; even can be used as a party wall in or near high-noise areas, like at airports, or industrial parks, to provide that type of insulation.
 Significantly, the block of this invention has high strength, has a large load bearing capacity, due to its solid configuration, and obviously provides safety during usage, can lower energy bills, as previously alluded to, but at the same time, is fabricated from generally waste ingredients, meaning that it will be low cost in construction. The block is made generally of about ninety nine percent (99%) waste materials, and therefore, is earth-friendly, as can be understood.
 In the preferred embodiment, the block may be constructed having dimensions generally in the category of eight inches high, eight inches deep, and sixteen inches wide (8″×8″×16″). Obviously, other dimensions can be readily applied during fabrication of the blocks of this invention.
 Generally, the formula for the compressed or extruded blocks of this invention are designed to provide maximum usage of waste material, such as fly ash, as known in the art. For example, where it is desired to fabricate a block having dimensions generally within the range of eight inches by eight inches, and to any length (8″×8″× any length), depending upon the mold, are the cut-off point for the extruded type of block, it will include a Class C Fly ash in a range of about fifty percent (50%) to sixty five percent (65%) by weight of the formulated block. Ground wood, such as sawdust, or wood chips, may be applied in the vicinity of thirty five percent (35%) to fifty percent (50%) by weight of the mixed formulation. Portland cement may be added in a range of about one to three percent (½% to 5%), for adhesion purposes. Finally, optionally, boron, or a boride, may be added in the range of one half percent to five percent (½% to −5%), in order to furnish the fire retardency, and as a preventer of insect infestation, characteristics which are desirable particularly since the formulation of this invention includes ground wood ingredients, as previously explained. Class C fly ash is readily available in abundance from the many coal fired electric generating plants.
 In addition, fly ash generated from other waste materials, such as previously alluded to, the waste vegetation matter left over upon the harvesting of plants such as the sugar beet, and many of the other vegetation grown, provides a fly ash, upon burning, that is found to be just as effective for usage in the formulation of this invention.
 In addition, other ingredients that may be used effectively include sea shells, sand, river sand, quarry sand, and desert sand, all of which may be used, to add further strength to the composition, from anywhere between thirty five percent (35%) to sixty five percent (65%) by weight, thereby reducing the amount of fly ash that may be necessary in the composition, or for reducing the wood pulp ingredient, in order to provide enhanced strength to the blocks, when formed, as can be understood. Obviously, the greater the quantity of sand or other glandular material that is added to the block, reducing the wood pulp content, makes the block less isolative, and reduces the ability of the finished block to accept and hold the nail and screw, when applied during the fabrication of a building.
 The system of fabricating the blocks of this invention include the extruding method, which incorporates a cyclone wood chip hopper, into which the chips may be included, and in which hopper the fly ash from an outside silo may be delivered, to provide for the proper mixing. A variable speed feeder may be used to deliver the mixture to a pre-mixer, wherein water may be added, and a displacement compressor provides the necessary pressure on the mixture, as it is delivered to a variable speed extruder, that may extrude a continuous block, to whatever cross sectional dimensions desired, such as eight inches by eight inches (8″×8″), but to any length before it may be cut off. Such lengths may even be as great as four feet to sixteen feet long 4′ to 16′), for the extruded block, exiting from the operations of the extruder. The block may then be conveyed to another location for drying, curing, and storage, before it is shipped to the building site, for usage.
 The preparation of the compressed block may be achieved through the usage of a hydraulic compressor, which exerts a ram force upon the block ingredients, delivered to the site of compression, where the blocks are instantly formed under extensive pressure, into individual blocks, to dimensions as desired, and then exit the compression chamber by way of a conveyer, to a remote location for further drying and curing, or for storage until usage. The type of modified hydraulic compressor, that has been modified, and found usage for the purposes of building the blocks of this invention, may be obtained form Vermeer manufacturing Company, of Pella, Iowa, as an example, under model No. HBP520, or a related type of hydraulic or other pressure inducing compressor.
 It is, therefore, the principle object of this invention is to provide a unique building block that can be instantly fabricated for immediate usage at low cost from generally waste ingredients and materials.
 Another object of this invention is to provide a molded, even one constructed under pressure, of a building block to a variety of custom dimensions, at the selection of the builder, and the owner.
 Still another object of this invention is to provide a very lightweight fabricated building block.
 Yet another object of this invention is to provide a building block that has retention attributes, and can hold a nail, or screw, upon application.
 Still another object of this invention is to provide a building block that may be fabricated having various grooves, in order to allow the locating of reinforcing bars, utility conduits, or the like.
 Still another object of this invention is to provide a building block having solid surface, and not necessarily made of the cavity type prior art block, and therefore exhibits a much larger load-bearing capacity than other type of fabricated blocks.
 Still another object of this invention is to provide a treated building block that has high fire resistant rating.
 Another object of this invention provides a building block that will be insect and termite resistant since the fly ash is a major ingredient, plus any organic inhibitors or coatings provide high specification in resisting insect infestation.
 Yet another object of this invention is to provide a building block that resists water penetration;
 Still another object of this invention is to provide a building block having a high wood content.
 Another object of this invention is to provide a building block that may be held together by thin set mastic, and does not necessarily require the usage of any mortar as normally accommodated and required between blocks in typical applications.
 Another object of this invention is to provide a building block that exhibits thermal insulation value in the range of R-16, and higher.
 Still another object of this invention provides a building block that has excellent noise suppression benefits.
 Yet another object of this invention is to provide a building block that eliminates the need for the stud-wall framing, and insulation batting. This can be achieved, because it already has good thermal insulation, and its wood content allows the builders to nail or screw the exterior and interior sheeting and other framing members, directly to the fabricated wall.
 Another object of this invention is to provide a building block for use for fabricating walls, which in certain jurisdictions, are already approved for general building usage.
 To irradiate, another primary object of this invention is to provide a sustainable building product, being composed primarily of waste materials. Hence, it provides a method by which waste material may be disposed of and utilized, without filling the landfills, with such waste material. For example, waste fly ash or fly ash generated by the burning of waste vegetation materials, or even broken or waste wood pallets, which can be chipped, can be used for the purpose of fabricating the blocks of this invention.
 In referring to the drawings,
FIG. 1 provides an eye symmetric view of the fabricated building block of this invention;
FIG. 2 is a schematic view of the system for processing by extrusion of the building blocks of this invention; and
FIG. 3 is a schematic view of the hydraulic press utilized for the compression forming of the blocks of this invention.
 In referring to the drawings, and in particular FIG. 1, the example of the type of building block fabricated by the system of this invention is readily disclosed. The building block 1 will be of standard shape or appearance, but can be fabricated to any size, but generally may be in the range of four inches high, eight inches wide, and twelve inches in length (4″×8″×12″). Obviously, other dimensions may be used for the block of this invention, and depending upon which system is used to fabricate the blocks, as for example, in the extruded block, a block of any length, even up to many feet in length, such as sixteen (16′) as previously stated, could be developed. Or, where the block is molded by hydraulic pressure, it may have dimensions similar to those as shown in FIG. 1. In addition, the block may be molded or extruded having supplemental configurations, such as the upper and lower grooves 2 and 3, as noted. The purpose of these grooves are to provide clearance, either for the locating of reinforcing bars, or perhaps to locate conduits, that may extend through the wall, and through which electrical wires, provide for heat conveyance, or other types of utilities may be located.
 The formulation for the block of this invention can be seen from the tables here and after provided.
 As can be seen from FIG. 2, the system for extruding the industrial building blocks of this invention is readily disclosed. As noted, the ingredients for the block are processed by the system, as disclosed. For example, pre-ground wood chips, as at 10, are delivered by conveyor 11, to a hammer mill 12, to provide a secondary grinding or pulverizing of the chips. The ground and pulverized wood will be conveyed by a blower 13, to a roto-paddle blower 14, and delivered by conduit tubing 15, for emitting into the upper end of a cyclone wood chip hopper 16, as can be noted. Support structure, as at 17, provides the bracing necessary for structurally holding the system in place. From the cyclone wood chip hopper, the ground pulp, which may include wood chips, wood dust, paper pulp, ground up cardboard, or any other of the pulp ingredients, are delivered to a variable speed roto-feeder, as at 18. At this juncture, the proper amount of the wood ingredient is delivered to a pre-mixer 19, as noted. At this point, and into the pre-mixer, fly ash from an outside silo source 20 is delivered by way of a positive displacement compressor 21, through a conduit 22, to the pre-mixer. The fly ash may be generated and deposited into the silo from any of the variety of sources for this type of ingredient. For example, it may be the fly ash from a cement plant. Or, it may be the fly ash generated from many of the other installations that generate fly ash, or from a variety of materials being burned. This may be at an incinerating plant, or elsewhere. Or, the fly ash may be generated, as previously explained, from the burning of waste vegetation matter, such as the vegetation left over from the harvesting and processing of beets, or any of the other variety of plants, which have residue vegetation matter left over, and which needs to be disposed of, normally being thrown in to the dump. In this case, it is burned, generates fly ash, which can be used as a low or no cost source ingredient, for fabricating the blocks of this invention.
 In addition to the delivery of the wood chip component, and the fly ash from external sources, water, by way of the conduit 23, is also metered into the pre-mixer, in an amount to provide it with some degree of texture that renders the mixture more pliable, and capable of being either extruded, or compressed, as can be understood. The amount of the ingredients added, including the water, can be determined from the formulations as previously set forth.
 From the pre-mixture, a variable speed mixer further mixes up the ingredients, as at 24, and delivers it to a variable speed extruder, that extrudes the formulated material in continuous lengths, as can be seen by the block exiting from the extruder dye, as at 25. At this juncture, the blocks may be cut to the desired lengths, which may be anywhere from inches, up to four feet through sixteen feet in length, as noted. At this point the cut blocks will then be conveyed upon the conveyor 26, to a location of drying, curing, storage, or even for use for installation at a building site.
 As an example of usage of the extruding process, utilizing the system as shown in FIG. 2, the raw feed stock, such as shredded wood, will be delivered to the plant site, which may be arranged at a landfill location. The wood chips are moved from the receiving hopper via the belt conveyor, as explained, to a hammer mill, where it is ground into small pieces. From there the wood is carried by an air stream to a cyclone, for the purpose of separating the wood from the air, where the wood particles then fall into the hopper, as noted. There it is fed via a variable speed auger to a continuous flow mixer, identified as the variable speed mixer. Fly ash, such as Class C fly ash, is delivered by bulk truck, to the silo, at the plant where the blocks are formed. The fly ash is carried by another mixer, by way of a variable speed auger, during the process. The fly ash is generally obtained from the kiln dust generated, in this particular instance, at a cement manufacturing plant, delivered in bulk, by way of trucks, to the silo, where it is then delivered to the variable speed auger, as noted. Portland cement by bulk trucks is also provided, in a variation on the formula, to another silo, where it likewise may be added as an ingredient by a variable speed auger. Calcium borate is delivered to the plant, and is likewise moved to the mixer by way of a variable speed auger. Obviously, the variable speed augers are all used to provide for the delivery of the precise amount of the ingredients, as determined necessary, for formulating the type of blocks to be molded or cast. Sawdust is delivered to the processing plant in bulk trailers. It is blended with ground wood, to provide further bulk. Water is injected into the mix blend just before it exits the mixer, on its way to the extruder. The extruder forces the slurry through a dye, as in the preferred embodiment, wielding an eight inch by eight inch (8″×8″) continuous block that can be cut to any length, as described.
 As previously referred to within the various formulations, sugar beet waste lime can be substituted for the kiln dust, using the same silo, so that instead of all Class C fly ash, sugar beet waste lime can be utilized, for the same purpose.
 The percentages of the ingredients for the block formulation when the sugar beet waste lime is applied may be determined from the following table.
 These ingredients are applied by percentage of weight of the overall composition.
 The second method for fabricating the blocks of this invention may be seen from FIG. 3, which shows a modification to a hydraulic press, which is utilized to compression form the blocks, in this instance, under hydraulic pressure, although other sources of pressure may be utilized.
 The system for providing a hydraulic or other pressured compression for forming the compressed block of this invention is shown in FIG. 3. As disclosed, this may be a more portable type of device. It includes the hydraulic ram machinery, such as shown at 30, which is a device for providing pressure to a ram, generally under hydraulic pressure, and is available, as previously explained, from Vermeer Manufacturing Company, of Pella, Iowa. This particular hydraulic ram machinery includes a feed hopper 31, into which the blended mix of material may be inserted, and is injected with some water from the liquid tank 32, the mix being delivered from the hopper by way of an auger conveyor 33, to a blender mixer 34, as noted. At this location, the mix is completely blended, and then in dosages delivered to the compression chamber 35 where the hydraulic ram exerts significant pressure, up to two thousand two hundred sixty five PSI (2265 PSI), upon the mix, to compress the material into a solid and uniform block, having the configuration designed from the mold provided within the compression chamber, to shape the style of block desired. At this point, when the hydraulic pressure is eased, the blocks are delivered along a conveyor 36, where the blocks can be stacked upon skids, pallets, or the like, and then left to stand for drying and curing, as can be understood. Following this, the blocks can be either stored or shipped for usage.
 During the delivery of the material to the hopper 31, the laborer will generally be emptying bags of the pre-mix powder containing material relating to the formulation as defined in Table II, which may be modified or varied with any of the other type of waste fly ash, such as that derived from sugar beet waste lime, of Table III, or have some of the sand provided therein, as analyzed in Table IV.
 In the formation of the blocks from the hydraulic or other pressure compressed blocks, the material will be formed similar in the manner as the pre-mix for the extruding process, including up to the delivery of the sawdust to the plant, for mixing, as previously explained. The material from the mixer, in the extruding process of FIG. 2, will be left dry, and bagged, for delivery to the feed hopper 31, of the Vermeer Block Press.
 Generally, the same formula is used as in the extruding process, but in the high pressure press, other blends will also work because of the pressure involved, up to three thousand pounds (3000 lbs.) per square inch, which is further effective in forming the desire block.
 It is likely that a blend of the sugar beet waste lime could be employed in the hydraulic pressing process, with a blend of an approximately sixty four percent (64%) by weight of the sugar beet waste lime, thirty three point five percent (33.5%) by weight of sand, and point five percent (0.5%) of Portland cement, to equal approximately one hundred percent (100%) for the pre-mix. Obviously, other quantities could be used than those particularly specified herein, but this has been found to be desirable. For example, you could use fifty four or seventy four percent (54-74%) of the beet waste lime, and a corresponding addition or reduction of sand to the mix. But, this pre-mix makes a very hard building block, when formed under these pressures.
 The pre-mix is added to the feed hopper 31, with a blender 34, built into it. A liquid pump delivers water by way of a twelve volt marine type pump. This makes the press totally self contained, portable, and with the hydraulic press being provided directly upon the trailer frame, when constructed. Once the hydraulic engine is turned on, the pre-mix is poured into the feed hopper, delivered to the blender; some moisture is added, generally in the range of enough water to make a substantially viscous pre-mix. The press is then applied, after a batch of the materials provided into the mold, at the compression chamber, for immediately forming a hard block. A spray system may be used for adding the water at the blender/mixer, and the water tank assembly holds approximately one hundred gallons of water. The compression chamber, at the mold, may include a weighing device, to ensure that the proper amount of materials is added into the mold, before compression is initiated. The mold may also be constructed in a manner to provide the shape the block is desired, as for example, the mold may contain the semi circular protrusions, in order to form the grooves 2 and 3, within the finished block, when compressed.
 In actual practice, the compressed blocks formed by the hydraulic press of this invention is achieved as follows. The dry pre-mixed product, that which has been bagged at the mixer 24 in the extruding process, may be packaged in either ninety pound (90 lbs) bags or two three five zero pounds (2350 lbs.) super sacks. The contractor may have the product delivered to the job site, or he can pick it up himself at the mixing plant. Part of the contractor's equipment will require the usage of a large truck to haul the product, and to pull the block press 30 with it.
 The first step the operator does is to check the fluid levels in the engine and hydraulic reverse tanks. Second, the engine is started, and left to warm up. Third, he selects either the manual or automatic setting. The manual setting is used with the ninety pound (90 lbs.) bags, while the automatic setting is used with the super sack size. In either case, the powder is fed into the feed hopper 31. From there, the material is fed into the blender by way of the auger 33. It then falls by gravity into the open compression chamber, where the mold is provided. Water is blended with the powder as it passes down through the blender. The compression cylinder is activated, either manually by the operator, or by press controls. The pressure varies from three hundred to three thousand pounds (300 to 3000 lbs.) per square inch, as explained. When the pressure reaches the operator pre-set level, a second hydraulic cylinder, built into the machine, and arranged at right angle at the rear of the compression chamber activates, pushing the compressed block out of the side ramp, onto the conveyor. Now, both cylinders retract, thus opening the compression chamber for more product from the blender. The cycle continues, and each new block is pushed from the processor further out onto the conveyor or ramp, for deposit and stacked onto a skid, or the like.
 Variations or modifications to the subject matter of this invention may occur to those skilled in the art upon reviewing the disclosure as provided herein. Such variations, if within the spirit of this development, are intended to be encompassed within the scope of the invention as described herein. The description of the preferred embodiment, and as shown in the drawings and schematics, is set forth for illustrative purposes only.