This project proposes a timber-based composite floor that can span 12 m and be used in the construction of 40+ story office buildings. This floor system integrates timber panels and timber beams to form a continuous box girder structure. The timber panels function as the flanges and the timber beams as the web. The beams are spaced and connected to the flange panels so that sufficient bending stiffness of a 12 m span can be achieved via the development of composite action.
The current phase of this project studied the performance of the connections between timber elements in the proposed composite member. Six types of connections using different flange material and connection techniques were tested: Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), Laminated Strand Lumber (LSL), Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL), and Post Laminated Veneer Lumber (PLVL). Glulam was used as the web. The majority of the connections used self-tapping wood screws except one had notches. The load-carrying capacity, stiffness, and ductility of the connections were measured. The stiffness of CLT, LSL, and PLVL connections was in the same range, 19-20 kN/mm per screw. Amongst the three, LSL had the highest peak load and PLVL had the highest proportional limit. The stiffness of the two LVL screw connections was around 13 kN/mm. The notched LVL connection had significantly higher stiffness than the rest, and its peak load was in the same range as LSL, but the failure was brittle.
LVL was used to manufacture the full scale timber composite floor element. With a spacing of 400 mm, the overall stiffness reached 33689 N
mm2×109, which was 2.5 times the combined stiffness of two Glulam beams. The predicted overall stiffness based on Gamma method was within 5% of the tested value, and the estimated degree of composite action was 68%. From both the test results and analytical modeling, the number of screws may be further reduced to 50% or less of the current amount, while maintaining a high level of stiffness.
Future work includes testing the composite floor under different screw spacings,
investigating the effect of concrete topping, and the connections between floor members
and other structural elements.