Discovery Grants Program - Individual
Contact: Dr. Osama Salem
Wood has been in demand as a competent construction material due to its beauty, economy, and ease of construction. However, in fire conditions light-wood structural members, if not treated, can perform poorly. On the contrary, heavy timber sections such as those made of glued-laminated (Glulam) and cross-laminated timbers (CLT) can retain their strength for a longer period of time in fire, since heavy wood sections lose strength slowly and only as material is lost through surface charring. In addition, those new engineered-wood products offer a strong combination of environmental performance and sustainability. Nevertheless, concerns about their structural fire performance have resulted in regulations that restrict their use through the prescriptive provincial and national codes and standards. The main objective of the research program proposed in this application is to investigate the structural fire performance of Glulam and CLT members and assemblies. Another important issue that needs to be investigated in this program is the different connecting configurations of structural members made of the aforementioned engineered-wood products. Accordingly, this research program will include both normal and elevated temperature examination of different types of connection configurations, such as bolted shear- and moment-resisting connections, as well as new assembling configurations that can improve the structural performance of Glulam members at elevated temperatures. The results obtained from this research will address important fire safety issues that could adversely affect potential markets for engineered-wood products in Canada.
The proposed research program has a number of short and long term objectives. In the short term, producing new and reliable experimental data for the behaviour of both common and new bolted connections used in Glulam framed systems at both normal and elevated temperatures, as well as developing non-linear finite element computer models that can accurately simulate the structural behaviour of those connections are targeted in this program. In addition, training highly qualified individuals including undergraduate and graduate students who will use their aquired training and hands-on experience in different structural fire engineering applications is another important objective. In the long term, the results and findings of this research program will contribute to the advancement of the design of low- to mid-rise buildings made of engineered-wood products in Canada.*In order to achieve the abovementioned objectives, the proposed research will involve three different themes: experimental testing, computer modelling, and analytical study. The experimental program will be conducted in two phases; the normal and elevated temperature testing phases. A state-of-the art large gas furnace housed in the new Structural Fire Research Facility at Lakehead University will be used to accommodate the planned fire resistance experiments. A computer finite element modelling study using the commercial finite element software package ABAQUS will follow each set of tests in order to simulate the structural behaviour of the tested connections and assemblies made of Glulam and CLT. In a subsequent phase, the results of the experimental testing program along with the predictions of the computer models will be integrally used to carry out an analytical study that will lead to the development of fire-safe design guidelines for the tested assemblies and connections. It is highly anticipated that the unique experimental results and the computer modelling outcomes of this research program will improve our understanding of the structural fire performance of engineered-wood building systems and help us having safer buildings in Canada.