This paper discusses the design principles of timber connections for ductility with focus on laterally-loaded dowel-type fasteners. Timber connections are critical components of timber structures: not only do they join members, but they also affect load capacity, stiffness, and ductility of the overall system. Moreover, due to the brittle failure behaviour of timber when loaded in tension or shear, they are often the only source of ductility and energy dissipation in the structure in case of overloading, much like a fuse in an electrical circuit.
This paper addresses current challenges in connection design for ductility, reviews selected best-practice design approaches to ensure ductility in timber connections, suggests simple performance-based design criteria to design connections for ductility, and aims to stimulate a discussion around potential solutions to implement safe design principles for ductile connections in future design codes and connection testing regimes.
This article provides an overview of the code requirements pertinent to large cross-laminated timber (CLT) buildings and the methods for meeting the requirements in Canada. Canadian building codes are objective-based. Compliance with the code is achieved by directly applying the acceptable solutions up to certain prescriptive building sizes (height and area) or by developing alternative solutions beyond the height and area limits. The fire safety design for a CLT building larger than the prescriptive limit must demonstrate that the building will achieve at least the minimum level of performance afforded by noncombustible construction in limiting the structural involvement in fire and contribution to the growth and spread of fire during the time required for occupant evacuation and emergency responses.
Fire safety remains a major challenge for engineered timber buildings. Their combustible nature challenges the design principles of compartmentation and structural integrity beyond burnout, which are inherent to the fire resistance framework. Therefore, self-extinction is critical for the fire-safe design of timber buildings.
This paper is the first of a three-part series that seeks to establish the fundamental principles underpinning a design framework for self-extinction of engineered timber. The paper comprises: a literature review introducing the body of work developed at material and compartment scales; and the design of a large-scale testing methodology which isolates the fundamental phenomena to enable the development and validation of the required design framework.
Research at the material scale has consolidated engineering principles to quantify self-extinction using external heat flux as a surrogate of the critical mass loss rate, and mass transfer or Damköhler numbers. At the compartment scale, further interdependent, complex phenomena influencing self-extinction occurrence have been demonstrated. Time-dependent phenomena include encapsulation failure, fall-off of charred lamellae and the burning of the movable fuel load, while thermal feedback is time-independent. The design of the testing methodology is described in reference to these fundamental phenomena.
The NMIT Arts & Media Building in Nelson, New Zealand is the first in a new generation of multi-storey timber structures. It employs a number of innovative timber technologies including an advanced damage avoidance earthquake design that is a world first for a timber building. Aurecon structural engineers are the first to use this revolutionary Pres-Lam technology developed at the University of Canterbury.
This technology marks a fundamental change in design philosophy. Conventional seismic design of multi-storey structures typically depends on member ductility and the acceptance of a certain amount of damage to beams, columns or walls. The NMIT seismic system relies on pairs of coupled timber shear walls that incorporate high strength steel tendons post-tensioned through a central duct. The walls are centrally fixed allowing them to rock during a seismic event. A series of U-shaped steel plates placed between the walls form a coupling mechanism, and act as dissipaters to absorb seismic energy. The design allows the primary structure to remain essentially undamaged in a major earthquake while readily replaceable connections act as plastic fuses.
With a key focus on sustainability the extensive use of timber and engineered-wood products such as laminated veneer lumber (LVL) makes use of a local natural resource, all grown and manufactured within an 80 km radius of Nelson.
This IstructE award winning project demonstrates that there are now cost effective, sustainable and innovative solutions for multi-storey timber buildings with potential applications for building owners in seismic areas around the world.
The objective of the current project is to develop a performance-based design process for wood-based design systems that would meet the objectives and functional statements set forth in the National Building Code of Canada. More specifically, this report discusses the fire and seismic performance of buildings, as identified as a priority in a previous FPInnovations report (Dagenais, C. (2016). Development of Performance Criteria for Wood-Based Building Systems).
This paper discusses the state-of-the-art of displacement-based seismic design (DBD) methods and their applications to timber buildings. First, an in-depth review of the DBD methods is presented, focusing in particular on the direct, modal and N2 methods. Then, paper presents DBD application on a wide range of construction systems, including both traditional light-frame structures as well as the emerging sector of tall and hybrid timber buildings. Finally, potentials of using these DBD methods for seismic design as well as possible implications of including DBD within the next generation of building codes are discussed.