Previous studies have mainly focused on the behaviour of timber under uniformly distributed compression perpendicular to the grain (CPG) loads. However, there are many practical applications in which timber is loaded by non-uniformly distributed CPG loads. Different design and test codes like the Eurocode 5 (EC5), DIN 1052:2004, ASTM D143- 94 and EN-408:2010 only account for load configurations where timber is subjected to uniformly distributed loads. For specific uniformly distributed load (UDL) configurations the bearing capacity of timber (solid softwood timber or Glulam) in compression is adapted by using a load configuration factor (kc,90) according to EC5, the European code for design of timber structures. EC5 has no guidelines for cross-laminated timber (CLT) under UDL with the exception of the Austrian National Regulations for EC5.
In this work, an experimental and numerical study on the bearing capacity and displacement behaviour of CLT subjected to non-uniformly distributed loading (NuDL) is conducted on eight different load configurations. A steel-CLT connection in which the CLT is partially loaded is used in this study. Finite element modelling, performed using the commercial software Abaqus CAE is used as the numerical simulation of the experimental study and is validated by experimental results. Load configuration factors (kc,90) from experimental results are compared with values from the Swedish CLT handbook (KL-Trähandbok). The outcome of the study shows that load configuration factor for NuDL cases is higher than for UDL cases. Hence, for same load configurations a lower CPG strength is required in NuDL than in UDL. Moreover, numerical results feature overall good congruence with the elastic phase of the experiments and have the potential to augment experiments in further understanding other complex steel-CLT connections