Steel-to-timber dowel joints Influence of moisture induced stresses

University dissertation from Växjö : Institutionen för teknik och design

Abstract: Joints are critical parts of timber structures, transmitting static and dynamic forces between structural members. The ultimate behavior of a loaded building depends strongly on the structural configuration and the capacity of the joints. The collapse of a whole building or less extensive accidents that may occur is usually starting as a local failure inside or in the vicinity of a joint. Such serious failures have recently occurred in our Nordic countries. Especially the collapse of two large glued laminated timber structures clearly indicates the need of an improved joint design. The trend toward larger and more complex structures even further increases the importance of a safer design of the joints.An aim of this partly experimental and partly numerically based thesis has been to investigate if steel-to-timber dowel joints are affected by moisture-induced stresses. The experimental results showed that the load-bearing capacity of the joints is reduced by such a moisture influence. Most of the decrease in load-bearing capacity observed was found in joints initially exposed to restrained shrinkage deformations caused by the presence of dowel fasteners in the joint area. The load-bearing capacity was, however, also found to decrease in joints exposed to an initial decrease in moisture without any fasteners present in the specimens during storage before loading. An explanation of this unexpected behavior is that moisture gradients cause tensile stresses. It is shown by numerical simulations that the moisture-induced stresses are so large that they may have a considerable influence on the joint behavior.Use of contact-free measurement methods, used in some of the experimental tests, was in many ways found to be superior to traditional measurement techniques, but was also found to be a valuable complement to the numerical analysis performed. From numerical results obtained in combination with results from contact-free measurements several observations of considerable interest were made. For dowel-type joints loaded in tension parallel to the grain a strongly non-uniform strain distribution was found in the joint area. It was further observed that the shear and tensile strains were concentrated close to the fasteners in the joint area. These concentrations will influence the failure mode of the joint. A general observation was that the larger sized joints failed in a brittle manner.Keywords: constraint stresses, contact-free measurement, dowel-type joints, humidity variations, moisture-induced deformations, timber structures