The dimensions, particularly the depths, of glued laminated timber (GLT) beams are continuously increasing to realize, e.g., wide-span hall constructions or flexible office buildings. However, experimental investigations of large beams are unavailable because of the tremendous effort involved. Numerical simulation campaigns represent an alternative, but their results are heavily influenced by the modeling strategy, and therefore, a different influence of the beam depths on the bending strength was obtained. To predict this influence, also called size effect, we carried out a simulation program covering 8840 GLT beams ranging from 165 mm to 3300 mm in depth, using advanced modeling concepts including discrete cracking and plasticity.
We observed a decreasing characteristic bending strength with increasing beam depths and an almost constant mean modulus of elasticity for both considered strength classes. Additionally, the influence of the beam length on the bending strength is analyzed, and it is shown that this influence can be described reasonably well with a simple analytical model based on Weibull’s strength theory. In conclusion, the effective material behavior of GLT is affected by its dimensions. For large beams, this influence is difficult to obtain experimentally; however, numerical simulation campaigns seem to be a promising way to accomplish this.