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United States Patent Application 20160273179
Kind Code A1
MITZEN; RICHARD ;   et al. September 22, 2016

APPARATUS FOR REDUCING WATER EVAPORATION AND METHOD THEREFOR

Abstract

A floating cover has a plurality of upper tubular members. The plurality of upper tubular members is attached widthwise together to cover the waterway to reduce water in the waterway from evaporating. A plurality of lower tubular members is provided. Each of the plurality of lower tubular members is positioned between and attached lengthwise to corresponding bottom sections of adjacent upper tubular members, the lower tubular members having open ends to allow water to flow through the lower tubular members.


Inventors: MITZEN; RICHARD; (SCOTTSDALE, AZ) ; JOHNSTON; THOMAS; (SCOTTSDALE, AZ)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

MITZEN; RICHARD
JOHNSTON; THOMAS

SCOTTSDALE
SCOTTSDALE

AZ
AZ

US
US
Family ID: 1000001763754
Appl. No.: 14/932680
Filed: November 4, 2015


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
14663290Mar 19, 20159249548
14932680

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: E02B 5/08 20130101
International Class: E02B 5/08 20060101 E02B005/08

Claims



1. A floating cover for a waterway comprising: a plurality of upper tubular members, wherein the plurality of upper tubular members is attached widthwise together to cover the waterway to reduce water in the waterway from evaporating; a plurality of lower tubular member attached lengthwise to a bottom section of at least one of the upper tubular member, the lower tubular member having open ends to allow water to flow through the lower tubular member; and a buoyant foam material positioned within at least one of the plurality of upper tubular members keeping the at least one of the plurality of upper tubular members afloat when water enters the at least one of the plurality of upper tubular members.

2. (canceled)

3. (canceled)

4. (canceled)

5. The floating cover of claim 1, wherein the plurality of lower tubular members are attached lengthwise to a bottom section of upper tubular members located on opposing ends of the floating cover.

6. The floating cover of claim 1, wherein the plurality of lower tubular members are attached lengthwise to a bottom section of upper tubular members located on opposing ends of the floating cover and at least one upper tubular members located in a central area of the floating cover.

7. The floating cover of claim 1, wherein the at least one lower tubular member is positioned between and attached lengthwise to corresponding bottom sections of adjacent upper tubular members.

8. The floating cover of claim 1, wherein each of the plurality of lower tubular members is positioned between and attached lengthwise to corresponding bottom sections of adjacent upper tubular members, the lower tubular members having open ends to allow water to flow through the lower tubular members.

9. (canceled)

10. The floating cover of claim 1, wherein the plurality of lower tubular members are positioned between and attached lengthwise to corresponding bottom sections of adjacent upper tubular members located on opposing ends of the floating cover and at least one upper tubular members positioned between and attached lengthwise to corresponding bottom sections of adjacent upper tubular members located in a central area of the floating cover.

11. The floating cover of claim 1, comprising a lifting attachment coupled to a top surface of the floating cover.

12. The floating cover of claim 11, wherein the lifting attachment comprises a plurality of eye bolts coupled to a multiplicity of the plurality of upper tubular members.

13. (canceled)

14. A floating cover for a waterway comprising: a plurality of upper tubular members, wherein the plurality of upper tubular members is attached widthwise together to cover the waterway to reduce water in the waterway from evaporating; a plurality of lower tubular members, wherein each of the plurality of lower tubular members is positioned between and attached lengthwise to corresponding bottom sections of adjacent upper tubular members, the lower tubular members having open ends to allow water to flow through the lower tubular members; and a buoyant foam material placed within each of the plurality of upper tubular members keeping each of the plurality of upper tubular members afloat when water enters any of the first plurality of the plurality of upper tubular members.

15. The floating cover of claim 14, wherein each of the plurality of upper tubular members comprises: an end cap attached to each end of each of the upper tubular members.

16. The floating cover of claim 14, comprising a lifting attachment coupled to a top surface of the floating cover.

17. The floating cover of claim 17, wherein the lifting attachment comprises a plurality of eye bolts coupled to a multiplicity of the plurality of upper tubular members.

18. The floating cover of claim 14, comprising a solar panel attached to a top surface of the floating cover.

19. The floating cover of claim 1, comprising a walkway attached to a top surface of the floating cover to form a planner top surface on the cover.

20. A floating cover for a waterway comprising: a plurality of upper tubular members, wherein the plurality of upper tubular members is attached widthwise together to cover the waterway to reduce water in the waterway from evaporating, wherein each of the plurality of upper tubular members comprises: a buoyant foam material positioned within each of the plurality of upper tubular members keeping each of the plurality of upper tubular members afloat when water enters any of the first plurality of the plurality of upper tubular members; and an end cap attached to each end of each of the upper tubular members; a plurality of lower tubular members, wherein each of the plurality of lower tubular members is positioned between and attached lengthwise to corresponding bottom sections of adjacent upper tubular members, the lower tubular members having open ends to allow water to flow through the lower tubular members; and a lifting attachment coupled to a top surface of the floating cover.
Description



RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] The present application is a Continuation-In-Part (CIP) application of U.S. patent application entitled, "APPARATUS FOR REDUCING WATER EVAPORATION AND METHOD THEREFOR", filed Mar. 19, 2015, and having U.S. Ser. No. 14/663,290 in the name of the Richard Mitzen and Thomas Johnston and is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] The present application in general relates to a water cover, and more specifically, to a floating water cover that may be positioned on a top surface of a water supply to reduce water evaporation from the water supply and a method therefor.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Water covers approximately 70 percent of the Earth's surface, but less than 1 percent of that water is available for human use. The world must share this small amount of usable water for agricultural, domestic, commercial, industrial, and environmental needs. Due to the small amount of water that is available for human use, water resources need to be conserved.

[0004] Water conservation may be defined as the policies, strategies and activities to preserve fresh water as a sustainable resource, to protect the water environment from pollutants, and to meet current and future human demand. Due to growing populations, increased water demands, as well as drought conditions in many areas of the world, water conservation is becoming more and more critical. Just in the U.S., over the last 50 years, the population has doubled in size. However, the demand for water over this same time period has tripled. It was recorded that at least 36 states have had at least a local, regional, or statewide water shortage, some coming even under non-drought conditions.

[0005] One way to conserve water may be to lessen the amount of water lost from open water sources due to evaporation. The amount of evaporated water from open water sources may depend on the temperature in the water and in the air, and the humidity and velocity of the air above the surface. The hotter the temperature, the drier the air and the windier the conditions, the larger the amount of water that may be lost due to evaporation. Management of water by reducing the evaporation rates can aid in the amount of water that may be used to help support the ever growing domestic, agricultural, and industrial demands.

[0006] It would thus be desirable to provide a system and method that can reduce the amount of water that evaporates from open water sources.

SUMMARY

[0007] In accordance with one embodiment, a floating cover for a waterway is disclosed. The floating cover has a plurality of upper tubular members. The plurality of upper tubular members is attached widthwise together to cover the waterway to reduce water in the waterway from evaporating.

[0008] In accordance with one embodiment, a floating cover for a waterway is disclosed. The floating cover has a plurality of upper tubular members. The plurality of upper tubular members is attached widthwise together to cover the waterway to reduce water in the waterway from evaporating. A plurality of lower tubular members is provided. Each of the plurality of lower tubular members is positioned between and attached lengthwise to corresponding bottom sections of adjacent upper tubular members, the lower tubular members having open ends to allow water to flow through the lower tubular members.

[0009] In accordance with one embodiment, a floating cover for a waterway is disclosed. The floating cover has a plurality of upper tubular members. The plurality of upper tubular members is attached widthwise together to cover the waterway to reduce water in the waterway from evaporating. Each of the plurality of upper tubular members has a buoyant material positioned within each of the plurality of upper tubular members. An end cap is attached to each end of each of the plurality of upper tubular members. A plurality of lower tubular members is provided. Each of the plurality of lower tubular members is positioned between and attached lengthwise to corresponding bottom sections of adjacent upper tubular members. The lower tubular members have open ends to allow water to flow through the lower tubular members. A lifting attachment is coupled to a top surface of the floating cover.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] The present application is further detailed with respect to the following drawings. These figures are not intended to limit the scope of the present application but rather illustrate certain attributes thereof.

[0011] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary floating water cover according to one aspect of the present application;

[0012] FIG. 2 is a cross-section view of the floating water cover shown in FIG. 1 showing anchor ties;

[0013] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an individual tubular member of the floating water cover shown in FIG. 1;

[0014] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an individual connector used in the floating water cover shown in FIG. 1;

[0015] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an exemplary platform for use with the floating water cover shown in FIG. 1;

[0016] FIG. 6 is a cross-section view of an exemplary floating water cover according to one aspect of the present application;

[0017] FIG. 7 is a cross-section view of an exemplary floating water cover according to one aspect of the present application;

[0018] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of an exemplary floating water cover according to one aspect of the present application;

[0019] FIG. 9 is a cross-section view of the floating water cover shown in FIG. 8 showing anchor ties;

[0020] FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a mounting bracket of the floating water cover shown in FIG. 8;

[0021] FIG. 11 is a perspective view of an exemplary platform for use with the floating water cover shown in FIG. 8;

[0022] FIG. 12 is a perspective view of an individual tubular member of the floating water cover shown in FIG. 8;

[0023] FIG. 13 is a side view of the individual tubular member of the floating water cover shown in FIG. 12;

[0024] FIG. 14 is a magnified view of an individual upper tubular member and connector of the floating water cover shown in FIG. 9;

[0025] FIG. 15 is a is a magnified view of successive tubular members of the floating water cover shown in FIG. 9;

[0026] FIG. 16 is a cross-sectional view of an exemplary floating water cover according to one aspect of the present application;

[0027] FIG. 17 is a cross-sectional view of an exemplary floating water cover according to one aspect of the present application;

[0028] FIG. 18 is a cross-sectional view of an exemplary floating water cover according to one aspect of the present application; and

[0029] FIG. 19 is a cross-sectional view of an exemplary floating water cover according to one aspect of the present application.

DESCRIPTION OF THE APPLICATION

[0030] The description set forth below in connection with the appended drawings is intended as a description of presently preferred embodiments of the disclosure and is not intended to represent the only forms in which the present disclosure may be constructed and/or utilized. The description sets forth the functions and the sequence of steps for constructing and operating the disclosure in connection with the illustrated embodiments. It is to be understood, however, that the same or equivalent functions and sequences may be accomplished by different embodiments that are also intended to be encompassed within the spirit and scope of this disclosure.

[0031] Embodiments of the exemplary system and method provide for a floating cover to reduce water evaporation from open water sources. The floating cover is durable to withstand the elements. The floating cover may be formed to have a solar panel coupled to a top surface thereof to allow the floating cover to serve a dual purpose of reducing water evaporation and producing electrical power. The floating cover may be formed with a walking platform to allow one to more comfortably walk across the floating cover.

[0032] Referring to FIG. 1, a floating cover 10 (hereinafter cover 10) is shown. The cover 10 may be positioned in a water source 12. The water source 12 may be any type of water source. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the water source 12 is a canal 14, but this should not be seen in a limiting manner. The canal 14 may be formed by having a channel 16 dug within the ground 18. The channel 16 may be lined with a coating 20 such as gunite, cement or like material. The coating 20 may be used to prevent water leakage into the ground 18.

[0033] Referring now to FIGS. 1-3, the cover 10 may be positioned on a top surface of the water flowing in the canal 14. The cover 10 may be formed of a plurality of tubular structures 22. The tubular structures 22 may be coupled together to span the width of the canal 14. In the embodiment show, the tubular structures 22 may be coupled together width wise to span the width of the canal 14.

[0034] Each tubular structure 22 may be formed of an upper tubular member 24 and a lower tubular member 28 coupled thereto. The lower tubular member 28 may be attached to a bottom surface of the upper tubular member 24. The tubular structures 22 may be formed as a single unit. Alternatively, the lower tubular member 28 may be attached in some manner to the bottom surface of the upper tubular member 24.

[0035] The upper tubular member 24 may be a hollow member. As shown in the FIGs., the upper tubular member 24 may be cylindrical in shape. However, this is shown as an example. The upper tubular member 24 may be formed in other geometric configurations without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0036] In accordance with one embodiment, the upper tubular member 24 may be formed of a lightweight but sturdy material. The upper tubular member 24 may be formed of a plastic material such as Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) or the like. Alternatively, a lightweight metal such as aluminum or tin may be used. The above are given as examples and should not be seen in a limiting manner. Other materials may be used without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0037] End caps 26 may be positioned on each end of the upper tubular member 24. The end caps 26 may form an air tight seal thereby preventing water from entering into the upper tubular member 24 and allowing the upper tubular member 24 to float on the top surface of the water.

[0038] A lower tubular member 28 may be attached to the upper tubular member 24 as stated above. The lower tubular member 28 may be a hollow member having open ends 30. The open ends 30 may be used to allow water to flow through the lower tubular member 28. The lower tubular member 28 may be used to provide additional ballast for the cover 10 when floating on the top surface of the water. As shown in the FIGs., the lower tubular member 28 may be cylindrical in shape. However, this is shown as an example. The lower tubular member 28 may be formed in other geometric configurations without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. In general, the lower tubular member 28 may be formed of the same material as the upper tubular member 24. Thus, plastic material such as Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) or the like, or a lightweight metal such as aluminum or tin may be used.

[0039] In accordance with one embodiment, the lower tubular member 28 may be formed of a length smaller than that of the upper tubular member 24. As shown in FIG. 2, the lower tubular member 28 may be positioned on the bottom surface of the upper tubular member 24 so as to be approximately centered on the bottom surface of the upper tubular member 24. When the cover 10 is positioned in the water, the lower tubular member 28 may be completely submerged in the water, while only a bottom area of the upper tubular member 24 may be submerged.

[0040] Each tubular structure 22 may be attached to an adjoining tubular structure 22. Connectors 32 may be used to attach adjoining tubular structures 22 together. In accordance with one embodiment, connectors 32 may be formed of tab members 34. A tab member 34 may be attached to and extend up from a front section and a rear section of each tubular structure 22. In accordance with one embodiment, a tab member 34 may be attached to and extend up from both side surfaces in the front section and the rear section of each upper tubular member 24. The tab members 34 may be formed on the same material as the tubular structure 22 and may be integral to the tubular structure 22.

[0041] The tab members 34 may have an opening 36 formed through a top area of the tab member 34. When adjacent tubular structures 22 are properly positioned and aligned next to one another, the openings 36 of the tab members 34 of the adjacent tubular structures 22 may be aligned. An attachment device 38 may be portioned through the aligned openings 36 of the tab members 34 of the adjacent tubular structures 22 to secure the adjacent tubular structures 22 together. The attachment device 38 may be a nut/bolt combination, a chain, or similar linking devices.

[0042] A bumper 40 may be formed on an exterior surface of the tubular structures 22. The bumper 40 may be used to prevent damage to the tubular structure 22 caused by the tubular structures 22 bumping into the edges of the water source 12 (i.e., bumping into the gunite of the canal 14). The bumper 40 may be formed of a rubberized material such as neoprene or the like. In accordance with one embodiment, a waterproof adhesive, chemical bonding, solvent welding process or similar processes may be used to attach the bumper 40 to the tubular structures 22.

[0043] A solar panel 42 may be positioned on a top surface of the cover 10. The solar panel 42 may be used to allow the cover 10 to generate and/or store electrical energy. The solar panel 42 may be positioned on the cover 10 in different manners. For example, the solar panel 42 may be laid parallel to the top surface of the cover 10, at an angle as shown in FIG. 1, or attached using a tracking device that moves the angle of the solar panel 42 with the direction of the sun.

[0044] In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the solar panel 42 may be positioned at a set angle. The solar panel 42 may be attached to the cover 10 using solar cell tab member 44. The solar cell tab members 44 may extend up from a central area of one or more tubular structure 22. Support arms 48 may be attached on one end to the solar cell tab members 44 and on a second end to the solar panel 42. Connectors 50 may be used to couple the support arms 48 to the solar cell tab members 44 and to the solar panel 42.

[0045] A walkway 52 may be placed on the top surface of the cover 10. The walkway 52 may be formed of a platform 54 like structure having a planer top surface 56. The planer top surface 56 may have a rough textured surface. The bottom surface 58 may be formed to have a plurality of indentations 60. The indentations 60 may be sized and spaced to conform to the top surface of the cover 10. Thus, the indentations 60 may be formed as a plurality of semi-circular indentations 62. The semi-circular indentations 62 may be sized and spaced to conform to the plurality of upper tubular member 24 forming the top surface of the cover 10. The walkway 52 may be formed on the same material as the tubular structure 22.

[0046] A railing 64 may be attached to the walkway 52. The railing 64 may be formed on one or more sides of the walkway 52. The railing 64 may be used to aid individuals using the walkway 52 by allowing individuals to hold the railing 64 for support. The railing 64 may be formed on the same material as the tubular structure 22.

[0047] An attachment device may be used to secure the cover to the ground 18. The attachment device may be used to prevent the cover 10 from moving and/or floating away. The attachment device may be fo med of a stake member 68. In accordance with one embodiment, the stake member 68 is an "L" shape stake member 68A. The "L" shape stake member 68A may be inverted and inserted into the ground 18 so that the eyebolt 70 of the "L" shape stake member 68A is positioned above the ground. The eyebolt 70 of the "L" shape stake member 68A may have an opening 72. The opening 72 may be used to secure a cable or chain 66 to a tab member 34 on one of the upper tubular members 24.

[0048] Referring now to FIG. 6, a cross-section view of another exemplary cover 10A according to one aspect of the present application may be seen. The cover 10A may be formed of a plurality of tubular structures 22. The tubular structures 22 may be coupled together to span the width of the canal 14 (FIG. 1). In the embodiment show, the tubular structures 22 may be coupled together width wise to span the width of the canal 14.

[0049] Each tubular structure 22 may be formed of an upper tubular member 24. The upper tubular member 24 may be a hollow member. The upper tubular member 24 may be cylindrical in shape. However, this is shown as an example. The upper tubular member 24 may be formed in other geometric configurations without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. The upper tubular member 24 may be formed of a lightweight but sturdy material. The upper tubular member 24 may be formed of a plastic material such as Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) or the like. Alternatively, a lightweight metal such as aluminum or tin may be used. The above are given as examples and should not be seen in a limiting manner. Other materials may be used without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0050] End caps/plugs 26 (hereinafter end caps 26) may be positioned on each end of the upper tubular member 24. The end caps 26 may form an air tight seal thereby preventing water from entering into the upper tubular member 24 and allowing the upper tubular member 24 to float on the top surface of the water. One or more of the upper tubular member 24 may be filled with a buoyant material 25. The buoyant material 25 may be floatation foam such as polystyrene, urethane foam, airex foam or similar materials. The buoyant material 25 may aid in allowing the upper tubular member 24 to stay afloat even if the upper tubular member 24 develops a crack or is damaged due to wear and tear, vandalism, or the like.

[0051] A lower tubular member 28 may be coupled to one or more of the upper tubular member 24. The lower tubular member 28 may be a hollow member having open ends 30. The open ends 30 may be used to allow water to flow through the lower tubular member 28. The lower tubular member 28 may be used to provide additional ballast for the cover 10 when floating on the top surface of the water. As shown in the FIG. 6, the lower tubular member 28 may be cylindrical in shape. However, this is shown as an example. The lower tubular member 28 may be formed in other geometric configurations without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. In general, the lower tubular member 28 may be formed of the same material as the upper tubular member 24. Thus, plastic material such as Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) or the like, or a lightweight metal such as aluminum or tin may be used.

[0052] The lower tubular member 28 may be attached to a bottom surface of the upper tubular member 24. If the lower tubular member 28 is attached to the bottom surface of the upper tubular member 24, it may be formed as a single unit. Alternatively, the lower tubular member 28 may be attached in some manner to the bottom surface of the upper tubular member 24.

[0053] As shown in FIG. 6, the lower tubular members 28 may be coupled to upper tubular members 24 in different configurations. In the present embodiment, at least one lower tubular member 28 may be coupled to an upper tubular members 24 located on each end of the cover 10A along a width of the cover 10A. At least one lower tubular member 28 may be coupled to an upper tubular members 24 located in a middle section of the cover 10A. This configuration may lessen the total weight of the cover 10A by reducing the total number lower tubular member 28.

[0054] Each tubular structure 22 may be attached to an adjoining tubular structure 22. Connectors 32 may be used to attach adjoining tubular structures 22 together. In accordance with one embodiment, connectors 32 may be formed of tab members 34. A tab member 34 may be attached to and extend up from a front section and a rear section of each tubular structure 22. In accordance with one embodiment, a tab member 34 may be attached to and extend up from both side surfaces in the front section and the rear section of each upper tubular member 24. The tab members 34 may be formed on the same material as the tubular structure 22 and may be integral to the tubular structure 22.

[0055] The tab members 34 may have an opening 36 (FIG. 4) formed through a top area of the tab member 34. When adjacent tubular structures 22 are properly positioned and aligned next to one another, the openings 36 of the tab members 34 of the adjacent tubular structures 22 may be aligned. An attachment device 38 may be portioned through the aligned openings 36 of the tab members 34 of the adjacent tubular structures 22 to secure the adjacent tubular structures 22 together. The attachment device 38 may be a nut/bolt combination, a chain, or similar linking devices.

[0056] A bumper 40 may be formed on an exterior surface of the tubular structures 22. The bumper 40 may be used to prevent damage to the tubular structure 22 caused by the tubular structures 22 bumping into the edges of the water source 12 (i.e., bumping into the gunite of the canal 14). The bumper 40 may be formed of a rubberized material such as neoprene or the like. In accordance with one embodiment, a waterproof adhesive, chemical bonding, solvent welding process or similar processes may be used to attach the bumper 40 to the tubular structures 22.

[0057] Referring to FIG. 7, a cross-section view of another exemplary cover 10B according to one aspect of the present application may be seen. The cover 10A may be formed of a plurality of tubular structures 22. The tubular structures 22 may be coupled together to span the width of the canal 14 (FIG. 1). In the embodiment show, the tubular structures 22 may be coupled together width wise to span the width of the canal 14.

[0058] Each tubular structure 22 may be formed of an upper tubular member 24. The upper tubular member 24 may be a hollow member. The upper tubular member 24 may be cylindrical in shape. However, this is shown as an example. The upper tubular member 24 may be formed in other geometric configurations without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. The upper tubular member 24 may be formed of a lightweight but sturdy material. The upper tubular member 24 may be formed of a plastic material such as Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) or the like. Alternatively, a lightweight metal such as aluminum or tin may be used. The above are given as examples and should not be seen in a limiting manner. Other materials may be used without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0059] End caps 26 may be positioned on each end of the upper tubular member 24. The end caps 26 may form an air tight seal thereby preventing water from entering into the upper tubular member 24 and allowing the upper tubular member 24 to float on the top surface of the water. One or more of the upper tubular member 24 may be filled with a buoyant material 25. The buoyant material 25 may be floatation foam such as polystyrene, urethane foam, airex foam or similar materials. The buoyant material 25 may aid in allowing the upper tubular member 24 to stay afloat even if the upper tubular member 24 develops a crack or is damaged due to wear and tear, vandalism, or the like.

[0060] A lower tubular member 28 may be coupled to one or more of the upper tubular member 24. The lower tubular member 28 may be a hollow member having open ends 30. The open ends 30 may be used to allow water to flow through the lower tubular member 28. The lower tubular member 28 may be used to provide additional ballast for the cover 10 when floating on the top surface of the water. As shown in the FIG. 7, the lower tubular member 28 may be cylindrical in shape. However, this is shown as an example. The lower tubular member 28 may be formed in other geometric configurations without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. In general, the lower tubular member 28 may be formed of the same material as the upper tubular member 24. Thus, plastic material such as Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) or the like, or a lightweight metal such as aluminum or tin may be used.

[0061] The lower tubular member 28 may be attached to a bottom surface of the upper tubular member 24. If the lower tubular member 28 is attached to the bottom surface of the upper tubular member 24, it may be formed as a single unit. Alternatively, the lower tubular member 28 may be attached in some manner to the bottom surface of the upper tubular member 24.

[0062] In the present embodiment shown in FIG. 7, a lower tubular member 28 may be coupled to alternating upper tubular members 24. The configuration of the lower tubular member 28 coupled to alternating upper tubular members 24 may continue across an entire width of the cover 10B. Alternatively, the configuration of the lower tubular member 28 coupled to alternating upper tubular members 24 may stop in a middle section of the cover 10B. The above configurations may lessen the total weight of the cover 10A by reducing the total number lower tubular member 28.

[0063] Each tubular structure 22 may be attached to an adjoining tubular structure 22. Connectors 32 may be used to attach adjoining tubular structures 22 together. In accordance with one embodiment, connectors 32 may be formed of tab members 34. A tab member 34 may be attached to and extend up from a front section and a rear section of each tubular structure 22. In accordance with one embodiment, a tab member 34 may be attached to and extend up from both side surfaces in the front section and the rear section of each upper tubular member 24. The tab members 34 may be formed on the same material as the tubular structure 22 and may be integral to the tubular structure 22.

[0064] The tab members 34 may have an opening 36 (FIG. 4) formed through a top area of the tab member 34. When adjacent tubular structures 22 are properly positioned and aligned next to one another, the openings 36 of the tab members 34 of the adjacent tubular structures 22 may be aligned. An attachment device 38 may be portioned through the aligned openings 36 of the tab members 34 of the adjacent tubular structures 22 to secure the adjacent tubular structures 22 together. The attachment device 38 may be a nut/bolt combination, a chain, or similar linking devices.

[0065] A bumper 40 may be forming on an exterior surface of the tubular structures 22. The bumper 40 may be used to prevent damage to the tubular structure 22 caused by the tubular structures 22 bumping into the edges of the water source 12 (i.e., bumping into the gunite of the canal 14). The bumper 40 may be formed of a rubberized material such as neoprene or the like. In accordance with one embodiment, a waterproof adhesive, chemical bonding, solvent welding process or similar processes may be used to attach the bumper 40 to the tubular structures 22.

[0066] Referring to FIG. 8, a floating cover 10C (hereinafter cover 10C) is shown. The cover 10C may be positioned in a water source 12. The water source 12 may be any type of water source. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 8, the water source 12 is a canal 14, but this should not be seen in a limiting manner. The canal 14 may be formed by having a channel 16 dug within the ground 18. The channel 16 may be lined with a coating 20 such as gunite, cement or like material. The coating 20 may be used to prevent water leakage into the ground 18.

[0067] Referring now to FIGS. 8-19, the cover 10C may be positioned on a top surface of the water flowing in the canal 14. The cover 10C may be formed of a plurality of upper tubular members 24. The upper tubular member 24 may be a hollow member. As shown in the FIGS. 8-19, the upper tubular member 24 may be cylindrical in shape. However, this is shown as an example. The upper tubular member 24 may be formed in other geometric configurations without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0068] In accordance with one embodiment, the upper tubular member 24 may be formed of a lightweight but sturdy material. The upper tubular member 24 may be formed of a plastic material such as Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) or the like. Alternatively, a lightweight metal such as aluminum or tin may be used. The above are given as examples and should not be seen in a limiting manner. Other materials may be used without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0069] End caps/plugs 26 (hereinafter end caps 26) may be positioned on each end of the upper tubular member 24. The end caps 26 may form an air tight seal thereby preventing water from entering into the upper tubular member 24 and allowing the upper tubular member 24 to float on the top surface of the water. One or more of the upper tubular member 24 may be filled with a buoyant material 25. The buoyant material 25 may be floatation foam such as polystyrene, urethane foam, airex foam or similar materials. The buoyant material 25 may aid in allowing the upper tubular member 24 to stay afloat even if the upper tubular member 24 develops a crack or is damaged due to wear and tear, vandalism, or the like.

[0070] Each upper tubular member 24 may be attached to an adjacent upper tubular member 24. Openings 74 may be formed through a side area of the upper tubular member 24. The openings 74 may be formed on opposing sides, left side and right side of the upper tubular member 24 as viewed in FIG. 9. The openings 74 may be formed on opposing ends, front end and rear end of the upper tubular member 24 as viewed in FIG. 8 with the front end being the end closest to the viewer. When adjacent upper tubular members 24 are properly positioned and aligned next to one another, corresponding openings 74 of adjacent upper tubular members 24 may be aligned. An attachment device 76 may be portioned through corresponding aligned openings 74 of the adjacent upper tubular members 24 to secure the adjacent upper tubular members 24 together. The attachment device 76 may be a nut/bolt combination, a chain, or similar linking devices.

[0071] The cover 10C may have one or more lower tubular members 28. Each lower tubular member 28 may be positioned between and attached to adjoining upper tubular members 24. The lower tubular member 28 may be a hollow member having open ends 30. The open ends 30 may be used to allow water to flow through the lower tubular member 28. The lower tubular member 28 may be used to provide additional ballast for the cover 10C when floating on the top surface of the water. As shown in the FIGS. 8-19, the lower tubular member 28 may be cylindrical in shape. However, this is shown as an example. The lower tubular member 28 may be formed in other geometric configurations without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. In general, the lower tubular member 28 may be formed of the same material as the upper tubular member 24. Thus, plastic material such as Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) or the like, or a lightweight metal such as aluminum or tin may be used.

[0072] As stated above, each lower tubular member 28 may be positioned between and attached to a bottom section of adjoining upper tubular members 24. Openings 80 may be formed through a bottom side area of adjacent upper tubular member 24. The openings 80 may be formed on the bottom front end and bottom rear end of the upper tubular member 24 as viewed in FIG. 8 with the front bottom end being the end closest to the viewer. Corresponding openings 82 may be formed on a top area of the lower tubular member 28. When the lower tubular member 28 is properly positioned between adjacent upper tubular members 24, the openings 80 formed in adjacent upper tubular members 24 may align with corresponding openings 82 formed in the lower tubular members 28. An attachment device 84 may be portioned through the aligned openings 80 and 82 to secure the lower tubular member 28 to and between adjacent upper tubular members 24. The attachment device 84 may be a nut/bolt combination, a chain, or similar linking devices.

[0073] The lower tubular members 28 may be positioned between and coupled to adjacent upper tubular members 24 in different configurations. As shown in the embodiment in FIG. 9, one configuration may have a lower tubular member 28 positioned between and coupled to the first two adjacent upper tubular members 24 located on each end of the cover 10C. One or more lower tubular member 28 may be positioned between and coupled to adjacent upper tubular members 24 located in a middle section of the cover 10C. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 9, three lower tubular member 28 may be positioned between and coupled to adjacent upper tubular members 24 located in a middle section of the cover 10C. However, this is only shown as an example and should not be seen in a limiting manner.

[0074] The lower tubular members 28 may be positioned between and coupled to adjacent upper tubular members 24 in other configurations than that shown in FIG. 9. As shown in FIG. 16, one configuration may have a lower tubular member 28 positioned between and coupled to the first two adjacent upper tubular members 24 located on each end of the cover 10C. In this embodiment, the lower tubular member 28 located in the middle section of the cover 10C have been removed. Another configuration may be seen in FIG. 17 where lower tubular members 28 may be positioned between and coupled to adjacent upper tubular members 24 in an alternating pattern. In this embodiment, lower tubular members 28 may be positioned between and coupled to a first and second upper tubular members 24, a third and fourth upper tubular members 24, a fifth and six upper tubular members 24, etc. Lower tubular members 28 may not be positioned between and coupled to the second and third upper tubular members 24, the fourth and fifth upper tubular members 24, the sixth and seventh upper tubular members 24, etc. A further configuration may be seen in FIG. 18. In this configuration, one or more lower tubular member 28 may be positioned between and coupled to adjacent upper tubular members 24 located in a middle section of the cover 10C. Another configuration may be shown in FIG. 19 wherein lower tubular members 28 have been removed. The above configurations are given as an example. Other configurations of the lower tubular members 28 positioned between and coupled to adjacent upper tubular members 24 than that shown may be possible without departing from the spirit and scope of the present application.

[0075] A bumper 40 may be coupled to the cover 10C. The bumper 40 may be used to prevent damage to the upper tubular members 24 located on the outer edges, far left side and far right side, as shown in FIG. 9, of the cover 10C. The bumper 40 may prevent the upper tubular members 24 on the far left side and far right side of the cover 10C from rubbing against the edges of the water source 12 (i.e., bumping into the gunite of the canal 14). The bumper 40 may be formed of a rubberized material such as neoprene or the like. In accordance with one embodiment, a waterproof adhesive, chemical bonding, solvent welding process or similar processes may be used to attach the bumper 40 to the tubular structures 22.

[0076] Alternatively, the bumper 40 may be a bumper tubular member 40A. A coupling device 40B may be used to attach the bumper tubular member 40A to the upper tubular members 24 located on the outer edges of the cover 10C. Openings 86 may be formed on a side surface of the bumper tubular member 40A. Corresponding openings 88 may be formed through a side area of the upper tubular members 24 located on the outer edges of the cover 10C. When the bumper tubular members 40A are properly aligned with their respective upper tubular member 24 located on the outer edges of the cover 10C, the openings 86 in the bumper tubular members 40A may align with corresponding openings 88 formed through the upper tubular members 24. The coupling device 86 may be positioned through the aligned openings 86 and 88 to couple the bumper tubular members 40A to their respective upper tubular member 24 located on the outer edges of the cover 10C. The coupling device 86 may be a nut/bolt combination, a chain, or similar linking devices.

[0077] One or more solar panels 42 may be positioned on a top surface of the cover 10C. The solar panels 42 may be used to allow the cover 10C to generate and/or store electrical energy. The solar panels 42 may be positioned on the cover 10C in different manners. For example, the solar panels 42 may be laid parallel to the top surface of the cover 10C, at an angle as shown in FIG. 8, or attached using a tracking device that moves the angle of the solar panels 42 with the direction of the sun.

[0078] In the embodiment shown in FIG. 8, the solar panels 42 may be positioned at a set angle. The solar panels 42 may be attached to the cover 10 using solar cell tab member 44. The solar cell tab members 44 may extend up from a central area of one or more tubular structure 22. Support arms 48 may be attached on one end to the solar cell tab members 44 and on a second end to the solar panel 42. Connectors 50 may be used to couple the support arms 48 to the solar cell tab members 44 and to the solar panel 42.

[0079] A walkway 52 may be placed on the top surface of the cover 10C. The walkway 52 may be formed of a platform 54 like structure having a planer top surface 56. The planer top surface 56 may have a rough textured surface. The bottom surface 58 may be formed to have a plurality of indentations 60. The indentations 60 may be sized and spaced to conform to the top surface of the cover 10C. Thus, the indentations 60 may be formed as a plurality of semi-circular indentations 62. The semi-circular indentations 62 may be sized and spaced to conform to the plurality of upper tubular member 24 forming the top surface of the cover 10C. The walkway 52 may be formed on the same material as the upper tubular member 24.

[0080] A railing 64 may be attached to the walkway 52. The railing 64 may be formed on one or more sides of the walkway 52. The railing 64 may be used to aid individuals using the walkway 52 by allowing individuals to hold the railing 64 for support. The railing 64 may be formed on the same material as the upper tubular members 24.

[0081] The cover 10C may have lifting attachment 90. The lifting attachment 90 may be used to secure the cover 10C to raise and/or lower the cover 10C into the water source 12. The lifting attachment 90 may be formed on one or more of the upper tubular members 24. The lifting attachment 90 may be one or more eyebolts 92 attached to one or more of the upper tubular members 24. A pair of openings 94 may be formed through a top and bottom surface of one or more of the upper tubular members 24. The eyebolt 92 may then be placed through the pair of openings 94 and secured to the upper tubular members 24. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 8, each of the upper tubular members 24 has an eyebolt 92 attached to a front and rear section. However, this is just one embodiment and should not be seen in a limiting manner. For example, eyebolts 92 may be attached to every over (i.e. alternating manner) upper tubular members 24. Alternatively, one eyebolt 92 may be attached to a front section of odd numbered upper tubular members 24 and one eyebolt 92 may be attached to a rear section of even numbered upper tubular members 24. The above is given as examples and should not be seen in a limiting manner.

[0082] When raising and/or lowering the cover 10C into the water source 12, one or more cables or similar devices may be placed through the eyebolts 92 located on the front and rear surfaces of the upper tubular members 24. The cables may then be attached to a crane or other lifting apparatus to raise and lower the cover 10C into the water source 12,

[0083] An attachment device may be used to secure the cover to the ground 18. The attachment device may be used to prevent the cover 10C from moving and/or floating away. The attachment device may be formed of a stake member 68. In accordance with one embodiment, the stake member 68 is an "L" shape stake member 68A. The "L" shape stake member 68A may be inverted and inserted into the ground 18 so that the eyebolt 70 of the "L" shape stake member 68A is positioned above the ground. The eyebolt 70 of the "L" shape stake member 68A may have an opening 72. The opening 72 may be used to secure a cable or chain 66 to one of the upper tubular members 24. The cable or chain may be secured to one or more eyebolts 92 on one or more of the upper tubular members 24.

[0084] The foregoing description is illustrative of particular embodiments of the application, but is not meant to be a limitation upon the practice thereof. The following claims, including all equivalents thereof, are intended to define the scope of the application.

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