Application of Ductile Yield Link in Glulam Moment Connections

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Virginia Tech


Wood beam-column connections have traditionally been designed as simple shear connections, ignoring their potential moment capacity. A major reason for not utilizing such moment connections is linked to the brittle limit states that wood components exhibit. The purpose of this research was to develop and test a ductile and high-strength wood moment frame connection. A design procedure for such a connection is presented herein.

The proposed glulam beam-column connection utilizes an embedded steel knife plate with a reduced section that acts as a ductile yield link, thus limiting the moment that can be transferred through the connection. This configuration is intended to fail through yielding of the ductile link, thus preventing non-ductile failure mechanisms of wood from occurring. In addition, the connection provides more wood cover over the embedded steel plate, which potentially may increase the connection's fire rating as compared to typical connections.

Two specimens, based on a baseline connection developed using the design procedure presented, were monotonically loaded until failure. Unlike the first specimen, the second was reinforced in the perpendicular-to-grain direction using self-tapping screws. Failure mechanisms were analyzed, and performance characteristics related to the connection's strength, stiffness, and ductility were evaluated. Results indicated that the reinforced specimen exhibited higher strength, stiffness, and ductility compared to the unreinforced specimen. The reinforced specimen showed improvements of 9.49% and 42.2% in yielding and ultimate moment, respectively, compared to the unreinforced specimen. Moreover, an improvement of 31.3% in ductility was obtained using perpendicular-to-grain reinforcement.



Glulam Moment Connection, Yield Link, Ductility, Stiffness