Patent for invisible fully reversible fool-proof connection system
How to develop a new connection system for vertical components that allows for an easy assembly and disassembly while being visually unnoticeable? Such a demountable mechanical connection system is important in order to increase the reuse and recycling of building materials and components in construction.
The initial inspiration for the new connection system came from the irreversible nature of the adhesively-bonded glass brick system of the Crystal Houses façade. The research question was: can we develop a new connection system for cast-glass blocks that allows for a controllable, calculable structural performance and dismountability; and equally important, that remains visually discreet without significantly compromising the overall transparency?
The solution is found by employing a magnetic field to lock and unlock the system, actually there is no external access to the connection. Resulting in an invisible and corrosion free connection system for opaque parts.
The now patented system could be a promising reversible joining solution in the construction industry for a wide range of materials (including glass, concrete, marble, wood, etc.) and components, such as bricks, façade panels and even structural components. The new mechanical connection consists of two parts. A set of magnetic balls enclosed in the upper part which is enclosed in the upper part falls into the ingenious system of different inclined paths and apertures each designed in such a way to accommodate eventually the respective balls. The bottom part, which receives the top part, consists of a corresponding number of recesses which in the locking position are aligned with the apertures. Locking and unlocking is achieved by activating and deactivating the magnetic balls in the connecting elements. In this way, the connecting elements can be easily dismantled, e.g. in case of damage, for replacement or for reuse elsewhere.
The system that has now been patented can be a promising reversible connection solution in the building industry for a broad range of materials (including glass, concrete, marble, timber, etc.) and components, such as bricks, cladding panels and even structural members.
Grammatiki Dasopoulou, Master's student in Building Technology, researched, designed and developed this new mechanical connection, under the supervision of Dr Faidra Oikonomopoulou and Dr Marcel Bilow from the AE&T department. This system is now patented and protected.