Key point to development of environmentally friendly timber structures, appropriate to urban ways of living, is the development of high-rise timber buildings. Comfort properties are nowadays one of the main limitations to tall timber buildings, and an enhanced knowledge on damping phenomena is therefore required, as well as improved prediction models for damping.
The aim of this work has consequently been to estimate various damping quantities in timber structures. In particular, models have been derived for predicting material damping in timber members, beams or panels, or in more complex timber structures, such as floors. Material damping is defined as damping due to intrinsic material properties, and used to be referred to as internal friction. In addition, structural damping, defined as damping due to connections and friction in-between members, has been estimated for timber floors.
Understanding the inherent damping mechanisms of floor vibrations has become a matter of increasing importance following the development of new composite floor layouts and increased span. The present study focuses on the evaluation of material damping in timber beam specimens with dimensions that are typical of common timber floor structures. Using the impact test method, 11 solid wood beams and 11 glulam beams made out of Norway Spruce (Picea abies) were subjected to flexural vibrations. The tests involved different spans and orientations. A total of 420 material damping evaluations were performed, and the results are presented as mean values for each configuration along with important statistical indicators to quantify their reliability. The consistency of the experimental method was validated with respect to repeatability and reproducibility. General trends found an increasing damping ratio for higher modes, shorter spans, and edgewise orientations. It is concluded from the results that material damping of timber beams of structural dimensions is governed by shear deformation, which can be expressed more conveniently with respect to the specific mode shape and its derivatives.