Experimental and numerical analyses of angle bracket connections in cross laminated timber structures




Rezvani, S. Saeed

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The invention of mass timber products, including cross laminated timber (CLT), over the past two decades has made tall wood building possible. In CLT structures, angle brackets are commonly used in wall-to-floor connections to transfer the shear in seismic and wind loads. In reality, these connections could experience loads in various directions, as well as multi-directional forces. This research consists of two parts: an experimental study carried out in Part 1, followed by a numerical program completed in Part 2. The research aims to investigate the performance of wall-to-floor CLT angle bracket connections under various loading situations. In Part 1 of the research, a two-phase experimental program consisting of 12 monotonic tests in the first phase, and 24 monotonic and 24 cyclic tests in the second phase was conducted to investigate the behaviour of wall-to-floor CLT angle bracket connections. Connections were assembled using two different sizes of steel angle brackets and four types of fasteners, under uplift, in-plane shear, and out-of-plane shear loads. The performance of the connections was evaluated in terms of strength, stiffness, ductility, energy dissipation capacity, and failure modes. Results show that small diameter fasteners are more desirable for wood-to-wood angle bracket connections in terms of failure modes, load-bearing capacity and stiffness. Specimens exhibited considerable ductile performance under both uplift and in-plane shear loads due to combinations of yielding of brackets and yielding or pull-out of screws. Connections loaded under out-of-plane tension may fail in the splitting of CLT panels. Fully-threaded screws led to higher strength, stiffness and energy dissipation capacity but less ductility compared to partially-threaded screws in angle bracket connections. In Part 2 of the research, a two-phase numerical program was carried out to assess the coupling effect of biaxial loading on the performance of CLT wall-to-floor angle bracket connections. In Phase I, a 3D finite element model of connections was developed using ABAQUS software and verified with the data from experimental tests carried out in Part 1 of the research. In Phase II of the numerical program, the verified model was used to simulate the performance of connections under three biaxial loads, i.e., shear and in-plane uplift, shear and out-of-plane tension, and shear and out-of-plane compression. The coupling effect on the performance of the connections was evaluated in terms of strength, stiffness, ductility, and failure modes under biaxial loads, and compared with the scenario where the connection was only loaded in shear. Results show that the application of biaxial loading may considerably decrease the shear performance of the connections. Additionally, the results confirm the analytical equation suggested by the European Technical Assessment to predict the resistance of angle bracket connections under biaxial loads.



Mass Timber, Angle Bracket, Experimental testing, Numerical modelling, Abaqus