This InfoNote summarizes recent research and work in progress. A significant amount of fire research has been conducted on mass timber over the last 10 years in Canada. This has supported the successful design and construction of numerous low-, mid-and even high-rise wood buildings. This has also fostered the introduction of new provisions into the National Building Code of Canada which has made wood and mass timber construction more accessible. However, the fire performance of these systems remains a concern for many potential occupants or owners of these buildings, not to mention building officials and fire departments. Research at FPInnovations continues to support designers and builders in the use of mass timber assemblies by ensuring fire safe designs.
The current study uses knowledge from digital architecture, computer science, engineering informatics, and structural engineering to formulate an algorithmic framework for integrated Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) of Integrally-Attached Timber Plate (IATP) structures. The algorithm is designed to take the CAD 3D geometry of an IATP structure as input and automates the construction and analysis of the corresponding CAE model using a macroscopic element, which is an alternative to continuum Finite Element (FE) models. Each component of the macro model is assigned a unique tag that is linked to the relevant geometric and structural parameters. The CAE model integrity is maintained through the use of the common data model (CDM) concept and object-oriented programming. The relevant algorithms are implemented in Rhinoceros 3D using RhinoCommon, a .NET software development kit. Once the CAE macro model is generated, it is introduced to the OpenSees computational platform for structural analysis. The algorithmic framework is demonstrated using two case structures: a prefabricated timber beam with standard geometry and a free-form timber plate arch. The results are verified with measurements from physical experiments and FE models, where the time needed to convert thousands of CAD assemblies to the corresponding CAE models for response simulation is considerably reduced.
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.
Advanced sustainable lateral load resisting systems that combine ductile and recyclable materials offer a viable solution to resist seismic load effects in environmentally responsible ways. This paper presents the seismic response of a post-tensioned timber-steel hybrid braced frame. This hybrid system combines glulam frame with steel braces to improve lateral stiffness while providing self-centreing capability under seismic loads. The proposed system is first presented. A detailed numerical model of the proposed system is then developed with emphasis on the connections and inelastic response of bracing members. Various types of braced frames including diagonal, cross and chevron configurations are numerically examined to assess the viability of the proposed concept and to confirm the efficiency of the system. A summary of initial findings is presented to demonstrate usefulness of the hybrid system. The results demonstrate that the proposed system increases overall lateral stiffness and ductility while still being able to achieve self-centring. Some additional information on connection details are provided for implementation in practical structures. The braced-frame solution is expected to widen options for lateral load resisting systems for mid-to-high-rise buildings.
Traditional wood-wood connections, widely used in the past, have been progressively replaced by steel fasteners and bonding processes in modern timber constructions. However, the emergence of digital fabrication and innovative engineered timber products have offered new design possibilities for wood-wood connections. The design-to-production workflow has evolved considerably over the last few decades, such that a large number of connections with various geometries can now be easily produced. These connections have become a cost-competitive alternative for the edgewise connection of thin timber panels. Several challenges remain in order to broaden the use of this specific joining technique into common timber construction practice: (1) prove the applicability at the building scale, (2) propose a standardized construction system, (3) develop a convenient calculation model for practice, and (4) investigate the mechanical behavior of wood-wood connections. The first building implementation of digitally produced through-tenon connections for a folded-plate structure is presented in this work. Specific computational tools for the design and manufacture of more than 300 different plates were efficiently applied in a multi-stakeholder project environment. Cross-laminated timber panels were investigated for the first time, and the potential of such connections was demonstrated for different engineered timber products. Moreover, this work demonstrated the feasibility of this construction system at the building scale. For a more resilient and locally distributed construction process, a standardized system using through-tenon connections and commonly available small panels was developed to reconstitute basic housing components. Based on a case-study with industry partners, the fabrication and assembly processes were validated with prototypes made of oriented strand board. Their structural performance was investigated by means of a numerical model and a comparison with glued and nailed assemblies. The results showed that through-tenon connections are a viable alternative to commonly used mechanical fasteners. So far, the structural analysis of such construction systems has been mainly achieved with complex finite element models, not in line with the simplicity of basic housing elements. A convenient calculation model for practice, which can capture the semi-rigid behavior of the connections and predict the effective bending stiffness, was thus introduced and subjected to large-scale bending tests. The proposed model was in good agreement with the experimental results, highlighting the importance of the connection behavior. The in-plane behavior of through-tenon connections for several timber panel materials was characterized through an experimental campaign to determine the load-carrying capacity and slip modulus required for calculation models. Based on the test results, existing guidelines were evaluated to safely apply these connections in structural elements while a finite element model was developed to approximate their performance. This work constitutes a firm basis for the optimization of design guidelines and the creation of an extensive database on digitally produced wood-wood connections. Finally, this thesis provides a convenient design framework for the newly developed standardized timber construction system and a solid foundation for research into digitally produced wood-wood connections.
Braced timber frames (BTFs) are one of the most efficient structural systems to resist lateral loads induced by earthquakes or high winds. Although BTFs are implemented as a system in the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC), no design guidelines currently exist in CSA O86. That not only leaves these efficient systems out of reach of designers, but also puts them in danger of being eliminated from NBCC. The main objective of this project is to generate the technical information needed for development of design guidelines for BTFs as a lateral load resisting system in CSA O86. The seismic performance of 30 BTFs with riveted connections was studied last year by conducting nonlinear dynamic analysis; and also 15 glulam brace specimens using bolted connections were tested under cyclic loading.
In the second year of the project, a relationship between the connection and system ductility of BTFs was derived based on engineering principles. The proposed relationship was verified against the nonlinear pushover analysis results of single- and multi-storey BTFs with various building heights. The influence of the connection ductility, the stiffness ratio, and the number of tiers and storeys on the system ductility of BTFs was investigated using the verified relationship. The minimum connection ductility for different categories (moderately ductile and limited ductility) of BTFs was estimated.
The aim of this study was to predict the withdrawal resistance of a screw in hybrid cross-laminated timber (CLT) composed of two types of lamina layers. A theoretical model to predict the withdrawal resistance was developed from the shear mechanism between a screw and the layers in hybrid CLT. The parameters for the developed model were the withdrawal stiffness and strength that occurs when a screw is withdrawn, and the penetration depth of a screw in layers of a wood material. The prediction model was validated with an experimental test. Screws with two different diameters and lengths (Ø6.5 × 65 mm and Ø8.0 × 100 mm) were inserted in a panel composed of solid wood and plywood layers, and the withdrawal resistances of the screws were evaluated. At least 30 specimens for each group were tested to derive the lower 5th percentile values. As a result, the developed model predictions were 86–88% of the lower 5th percentile values of hybrid CLT from the properties of the lamina layer. This shows that the withdrawal resistance of hybrid CLT can be designed from the properties of its layer.
The desire for sustainability has propelled innovation in structural engineering for much of the 21st century. Implement sustainable design without sacrificing the structural integrity of a building is important. The timber-concrete composite (TCC) floor system is an alternative floor system that offers superior sustainability and quick installation compared to other composite floors. TCC is comprised of a reinforced concrete slab connected to timber plate/beams by shear connectors that transfer the internal forces through the shear flow. To resist bending forces the reinforced concrete slab experiences the majority of compression stress and the timber plate/beam experience the majority of tension stress. Compared to an equivalent all-concrete section the TCC system has similar strength and stiffness as well as reduced weight.