At the Institute of Structural Engineering at the ETH Zurich numerous of investigations are
conducted to analyse the load bearing capacity of glued laminated timber beams. The investigations are part of the research project ’Influence of varying material properties on the load bearing capacity of glued laminated timber (glulam)’.
The investigations are taking place on 24 glulam beams with well-known material properties.
The glulam beams are fabricated out of 400 timber boards. From those boards the material
properties are investigated non-destructively within a former research project. During the glulam
fabrication it is particularly focused to keep the information of the timber boards; i.e. after the
glulam fabrication the position of each particular timber board within the glulam beam and
thus the position of each particular knot is still known.
The glulam beams are investigated during a 4-point bending test. On the glulam members
the load bearing capacity, the bending stiffness and the density is measured. Furthermore
local strains within the glulam beams are investigated using an optical coordinate-measurement
device. Following the test the failure is investigated in detail. Hereby the type of failure (knot
cluster, finger joint, clear wood) and the amount of failure (number of damaged lamellas) is
documented. Afterwards the failed glulam beams are loaded again to analyse the remaining
bending strength and the corresponding remaining bending stiffness.
The major aim of the experimental analysis is the investigation of the load bearing capacity
of glulam beams with well-known local material properties. The gained results can be used for
an investigation of the influence of local weak zones, such as knot clusters or finger joints, on the
load bearing capacity of glulam. In addition a data basis is produced to develop a new model
(or to evaluate existing models) for the estimation of the load bearing capacity of glulam.