Numerical Simulation of the Semi-Rigid Behaviour of Integrally Attached Timber Folded Surface Structures

Timber folded surface structures assembled using semi-rigid multiple tab and slot joints (MTSJ) have been shown to form feasible structural systems with high load bearing potential. However, for their further development and use on large building scales, a pertinent model for prediction of their structural behaviour has yet to be developed. This paper focuses on simplified numerical methods for accurately modelling the semi-rigid structural behaviour of bidirectional timber folded surface structures with multiple tab and slot connections. Within this scope, the structure behaviour is considered to be in the elastic stage. Three practical methods of analysis for such structural systems are presented. The first two approaches use the Finite Element Method (FEM), where the theory of plates and shells are applied. In the first method, the MTSJs are modeled using strip element models, while, in the second strategy, spring models are used. The third modeling strategy elaborates on the new macroscopic mechanical models, referred to as macro models. Sets of one-dimensional (1D) elements are used to represent the mechanical behaviour of the entire system. Both linear and geometric nonlinear analysis are performed for all three modeling strategies. The numerical results are then validated against the large scale experiments. Comparison of the strip and spring element model results have shown that the strips represent more accurately the experimentally obtained values. Concerning the macro modelling approach, very good agreement with both detailed FE modelling approaches, as well as experimental results, were obtained. The results indicate that both linear and nonlinear analysis can be used for modelling the displacements within the elastic range. However, it is essential to include geometric nonlinearities in the analysis for accurate modelling of occurring strains as well as for displacements when considering higher load levels. Finally, it is demonstrated that including semi-rigidity in the numerical models is of high importance for analysing the behaviour of timber folded surface structures with MTSJ.

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Buildings, 9, 2, 55
Feb 01 2019

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 Record created 2019-03-22, last modified 2020-06-24

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