Lateral Movement of Unbraced Wood Composite I-Joists Exposed to Dynamic Walking Loads

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Virginia Tech

The research summarized in this thesis is comprised of an experimental analysis of the mechanical behavior of a wood composite I-joist with different bracing configurations exposed dynamic walking loads. Three 16 in. deep GPI® 65 I-joists were simply supported and laid parallel to each other, while the bracing was attached to the top flange. Five different brace stiffnesses were used: zero stiffness (control), 1.2 lb/in., 8.5 lb/in., 14.0 lb/in. and infinitely stiff. Two different brace configurations were used: one-quarter of the span length (60 in.) and one third the span length (80 in.). The dynamic walking loads consisted of human test subjects attached to a safety platform walking across the I-joist at a designated pace.

Experimental results for this research consisted of the I-joist's lateral accelerations, lateral displacements and twist. An Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) was used for the statistical analysis of the results and was performed for each measurement. The statistical analysis determined the effects of different bracing configurations, stiffnesses, measurement locations as well as test subjects' weight and occupation.

Test results and observed trends are provided for all test configurations. Lateral displacement and twist experienced the same trend throughout the experiment: as brace stiffness increased, lateral displacement and twist decreased. This correlated with basic beam theory and bracing fundamentals. It should be noted that as the stiffness increased, the effect on lateral displacement and twist response decreased.

However, the trend for lateral displacement and twist was not observed for the lateral accelerations. The 1.2 lb/in. brace stiffness had much larger lateral accelerations for the 60 in. brace configuration throughout the span and were also larger at the bracing point for the 80 in. brace configuration. This could have been due to the energy applied from the springs or a natural frequency of the I-joist system could have been reached during testing. However, the other four brace stiffnesses followed the same trend as the lateral displacements and twist.

In addition, this research demonstrates a method for the measurement of lateral buckling due to worker loads. The mitigation of lateral buckling can use appropriate bracing systems. The measurements of the change in lateral buckling behavior can be used to develop safety devices and ultimately ensure the protection of construction workers.

Lateral Buckling, Mechanical Behavior, Brace Stiffness, Wood Composite I-Joist, Lateral Stability, Lateral Bracing