Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is an emerging engineered wood product in North America. Past research effort to establish the behaviour of CLT under extreme loading conditions has focussed CLT slabs with idealized simply-supported boundary conditions. Connections between the wall and the floor systems above and below are critical to fully describing the overall behaviour of CLT structures when subjected to blast loads. The current study investigates the effects of “realistic” boundary conditions on the behaviour of cross-laminated timber walls when subjected to simulated out-of-plane blast loads. The methodology followed in the current research consists of experimental and analytical components. The experimental component was conducted in the Blast Research Laboratory at the University of Ottawa, where shock waves were applied to the specimens. Configurations with seismic detailing were considered, in order to evaluate whether existing structures that have adequate capacities to resist high seismic loads would also be capable of resisting a blast load with reasonable damage. In addition, typical connections used in construction to resist gravity and lateral loads, as well as connections designed specifically to resist a given blast load were investigated. The results indicate that the detailing of the connections appears to significantly affect the behaviour of the CLT slab. Typical detailing for platform construction where long screws connect the floor slab to the wall in end grain performed poorly and experienced brittle failure through splitting in the perpendicular to grain direction in the CLT. Bearing type connections generally behaved well and yielding in the fasteners and/or angles brackets meant that a significant portion of the energy was dissipated there reducing the energy imparted on the CLT slab significantly. Hence less displacement and thereby damage was observed in the slab. The study also concluded that using simplified tools such as single-degree-of-freedom (SDOF) models together with current available material models for CLT is not sufficient to adequately describe the behaviour and estimate the damage. More testing and development of models with higher fidelity are required in order to develop robust tools for the design of CLT element subjected to blast loading.
This thesis fills the existing knowledge gap between detailed design and global behaviour of hybrid systems through an experimental study on an innovative timber-steel hybrid system called “FFTT”. The FFTT system relies on wall panels of mass timber such as CLT for gravity and lateral load resistance and embedded steel sections for ductility under the earthquake loads. An important step towards the practical application of the FFTT system is obtaining the proof that the connections facilitate the desired ductile failure mode. The experimental investigation was carried out at the facility of FPInnovations, Vancouver. The testing program consisted of quasi-static monotonic and reverse cyclic tests on the timber-steel hybrid system with different configurations. The two beam profiles, wide flange I-sections and hollow rectangular sections were tested. The interaction between the steel beams and CLT panels and the effect of the embedment depth, cross-section reduction and embedment length were closely examined. The study demonstrated that when using an appropriate steel section, the desired ‘Strong Column–Weak Beam’ failure mechanism was initiated and excessive wood crushing was avoided. While wide-flange I-sections were stiffer and stronger, the hollow sections displayed better post-yield behaviour with higher energy dissipation capacity through several cycles of deformation under cyclic loads. The out-of-plane buckling at the point of yielding was the major setback of the embedment of wide-flange I-sections. This research served as a precursor for providing design guidance for the FFTT system as one option for tall wood buildings in high seismic regions.
A new structural system for multi-storey timber buildings has been developed over the last seven years at the University of Canterbury. The system incorporates large timber structural frames, whereby semi-rigid beam-column connections are created using post-tensioning steel tendons. This system can create large open floor plans required for office and commercial buildings.
Several material properties of the engineered timber used were determined based on small-scale experimental testing. Full-scale testing of beams, connections and frames resulted in a more comprehensive understanding of the behaviour of such systems. Numerical, analytical and framework models also led to the development of design equations and procedures which were validated with the acquired experimental data.
In response to the global drive towards sustainable construction, CLT has emerged as a competitive alternative to other construction materials. CLT buildings taller than 10-storeys and CLT buildings in regions of moderate to high seismicity would be subject to higher lateral loads due to wind and earthquakes than CLT buildings which have already been completed. The lack of structural design codes and limited literature regarding the performance of CLT buildings under lateral loading are barriers to the adoption of CLT for buildings which could experience high lateral loading. Previous research into the behaviour of CLT buildings under lateral loading has involved testing of building components. These studies have generally been limited to testing wall systems and connections which replicate configurations at ground floor storeys in buildings no taller than three storeys. Consequently, to develop the understanding of the performance of multi-storey CLT buildings under lateral loading, the performance of wall systems and connections which replicate conditions of those in above ground floor storeys in buildings taller than three storeys were experimentally investigated. The testing of typical CLT connections involved testing eighteen configurations under cyclic loading in shear and tension. The results of this experimental investigation highlighted the need for capacity-based design of CLT connections to prevent brittle failure. It was found that both hold down and angle bracket connections have strength and stiffness in shear and tension and by considering the strength of the connections in both directions, more economical design of CLT buildings could be achieved. The testing of CLT wall systems involved testing three CLT wall systems with identical configurations under monotonic lateral load and constant vertical load, with vertical loads replicating gravity loads at storeys within a 10-storey CLT building. The results show that vertical load has a significant influence on wall system behaviour; varying the vertical load was found to vary the contribution of deformation mechanisms to global behaviour within the elastic region, reinforcing the need to consider connection design at each individual storey. As there are still no structural design codes for CLT buildings, the accuracy of analytical methods presented within the literature for predicting the behaviour of CLT connections and wall systems under lateral loading was assessed. It was found that the analytical methods for both connections and wall systems are highly inaccurate and do not reflect experimentally observed behaviour.
In recent years, hybrid systems have grown in popularity as potential solution for mid-rise construction. There is also an increased interest in using timber for such systems. The lack of established design guidance, however, has tabled the practical implementation of timber-based hybrid structures. The aim of this thesis is to address the existing knowledge gap regarding the detailed connection design of hybrid systems through combined experimental and numerical investigations on a novel timber-steel system called “FFTT”. The FFTT system relies on wall panels of mass timber such as Cross-Laminated-Timber (CLT) for gravity and lateral load resistance and embedded steel beam sections to provide ductility under seismic loading. A vital step towards practical implementation of the FFTT system is to obtain the proof that the connections facilitate the desired ‘strong column – weak beam’ failure mechanism.
The numerical work applied the software ANSYS; a parametric study based on the results of previous tests was conducted to obtain a suitable connection configuration for improved structural performance. The experimental work, carried out at FPInnovations, consisted of quasi-static monotonic and reversed cyclic tests on two different connection configurations: fully and partially embedded ASTM wide flange sections in combination with 7 ply CLT panels. The combination of partial embedment length and full embedment depth, even when using the smallest wide flange section, did not facilitate the desired behavior. The connection performance was significantly improved when reducing the embedment depth (to avoid creating stress peaks on a weak cross layer) and increasing the embedment length (larger center to center distance between bearing plates). The used small size steel beam, however, is not practical for a real structure; therefore, further studies with larger beams and a modified geometry are recommended before the FFTT system can be applied in practice.
The aim of this thesis is to study the load-carrying behaviour of dowel-type steel-to-timber connections in detail. This is achieved by performing experimental tests on single-dowel connections. A large variety of influencing parameters is assessed, which include wood density, connection width, the dowel roughness, and the application of reinforcements in order to prevent brittle behaviour. Separate stages in the loading history are identified, starting from an initial consolidation phase, the region of maximum stiffness during load increase, and the point of maximum connection strength.
The results of the experiments are compared to the design practice in Eurocode 5 for strength and stiffness estimation. Strength prediction is conservative except for slender connections, while stiffness prediction complied with experimental results only for connections of intermediate width.