Dowelled structural connections in laminated bamboo and timber

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Structural sections of laminated bamboo can be connected using methods common in timber engineering, however the different material properties of timber and laminated bamboo suggest that the behaviour of connections in the two materials would not be the same. This study investigates the dowelled connection, in which a connector is passed through a hole in the material, and load is resisted by shear in the connector and embedment into the surrounding material. Steel dowels were used in a connection between a laminated bamboo member and a steel plate in a central slot in the bamboo, and the behaviour of this connection was compared with a similar connection in timber. The laminated bamboo was made from Moso bamboo (Phyllostachys pubescens) which had been treated by one of two preservative processes, either bleaching or caramelisation. Following testing, substantial qualitative differences between the bamboo and timber specimens were observed: the bamboo failed most often by the formation of a shear plug whereas the timber failed by a single split. The two preservative treatments resulted in different behaviour: the bleached bamboo had a degree of ductility roughly twice that of the caramelised bamboo. Digital image correlation provided full-field strain measurements, which gave further insight into the differences between the materials, particularly between bamboo and timber. Shear strain is dominant in the bamboo, compared with tensile strain perpendicular to grain in the timber. Numerical modelling showed that this difference in the strain field could be explained by the different orthotropic elastic and frictional properties of the two materials.




Reynolds, T., Sharma, B., Harries, K., & Ramage, M. (2016). Dowelled structural connections in laminated bamboo and timber. Composites Part B: Engineering, 90, 232–240.

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