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CHAPTER 8

Design of Timber Structures


8.1 Introduction
Timber is used as one of the construction material in areas where it is easily available and cheap.
Timber can also be used for temporary structures, formwork and scaffolding.
Timber is an organic material generally used in its natural state but it should be properly seasoned
before use. Of the many factors that determine the strength of timber, slope of grains, specific
gravity, moisture content and the natural characteristics of timber (like defects due to knots,
checks & shakes) may have an effect on the strength of timber. The life of timber structure is long
if it is maintained either dry or wet continuously.

Advantages of Timber
- Good resistance against chemicals, such as acid and salts.
- Easy to handle, even with simple tools.
- Strong material compared to its own weight (it has a low unit weight).
- Nearly no change in length due to temperature.
- Nearly it is thermal and electrical insulating material.
- It has a good ability to dampen vibration.
- Being a fibrous material, it is less sensitive to repeated loads (fatigue).

Disadvantages of Timber
- Its strength decrease by moisture.
- Change its volume or/and shape depending on its water content.
- It is inflammable.
- It is easily attacked by fungi, insects etc.
- It takes a lot of time until a tree can be used as timber.

8.2 Permissible stresses of Timber


Strength of timbers is extremely variable. It depends on natural defects, slopes of grains, specific
gravity and moisture content. Large safety factors are normally used to determine the permissible
stresses of timber. The following tables may provide approximate values of permissible stresses
of some of local and commercially available imported timbers.

Table1:- Allowable Stresses of some of Local Timbers


Stress Zigba/Tid Eucalyptus, round
(Bahir-zaf)
Fb || 4.0 MPa 12.0 MPa
-Bending ,
Ft || 2.5 MPa 10.0 MPa
-Tension ,
Fc || 4.0 MPa 10.0 MPa
-Compression ,
1.5 MPa 2.0 MPa
Fc
Fs || 0.6 MPa 1.5 MPa
-Shear ,
Etimber 5,500 to 7,000 MPa 10,000 MPa
-Elastic Modulus,

1 Part II: Design of Timber Structures by M. Ahmed


-Unit Mass 600 to 750 kg / m3 850 kg / m3
Table2:- Allowable Stresses of some of commercially available Timbers
Stress Cedar, Fir (pine tree), Teak (tall east Oak
Similar to Zigba similar to Tid Indian tree)
Fb || 10 .59 MPa 6.47 MPa 11.38 MPa 12.16 MPa
-Bending ,
Ft || 10 .59 MPa 6.47 MPa 11.38 MPa 12.16 MPa
-Tension ,
Fc || 6.87 MPa 5.1 MPa 7.65 MPa 7.85 MPa
-Compression ,
3.34 MPa 1.19 MPa 3.04 MPa 3.43 MPa
Fc
Fs || 1.37 MPa 0.78 MPa 1.37 MPa 1.37 MPa
-Shear ,
Etimber 10,690 MPa 9,220 MPa 9,420 MPa 12,260 MPa
-Elastic Modulus,
-Unit Mass 700 k g / m 3 440 k g / m 3 630 k g / m 3 850 k g / m 3

The permissible stresses given in the above table are used for moist out door structures and under
medium term loading. For other moisture condition and duration of loading, corrections are to be
made as given below. Modulus of elasticity of timber is not affected by moisture conditions of
timber.
a) Correction for moisture content

Condition of Allowable stress


Moisture increases by factor
-Dry condition (indoor structure) 1.20
-Moist condition (outdoor structure) 1.00
-Wet condition (Structure in water) 0.80

b) Correction for duration of loading

Duration of Design load


Loading increases by factor
-Short-term loading (wind load etc.) 0.8
-Medium-term loading (live load) 1.00
-Long-term loading (dead load) 1.2

8.3. Design of Structural Members

8.3.1 Tension Members


Tensile loads are allowed to act only parallel to the grains. Minimum area of tension member is
limited to 24mm x 48mm. Tension members are simple to design. The required cross-sectional
area may be determined using:
T
An
Ft ||
An is net area = (Gross area largest of imperfections or fastener holes)
where

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An 0.9 Ag An 0.8 Ag
For nailed timber pieces, , and for bolted timber pieces, .

8.3.2 Compression Members


The cross-sections of compression members are generally rectangular some times circular. As in
the case of steel column, timber column are classified in to short, intermediate and long column.
un sup ported length (lu )
11
a) For short column, least lateral dim ension (b)
lu
11 kc
b) For intermediate column, b
lu
kc 50
c) For long column, b
0.45 Etimber lu
kc
Fc ||
where --limiting b ratio dividing intermediate & long column.
-for column with circular section, least lateral dimension, b is taken as the side of
equivalent square section.
Unsupported length of compression member made of timber may be determined depending end
condition as given below:

lu l lu 0.85 l lu 0.7 l lu 2.5 l lu 1.5 l

The permissible column loads used for design according to American Forest and Paper
Association (AFPA) shall be calculated as follows:
a) For short columns
P
fc Fc ||
A
b) For intermediate columns
p 1 lu b
4

fc Fc ||. 1
A 3 kc

c) For long columns
P 0.3Etimber
fc
A lu b 2

3 Part II: Design of Timber Structures by M. Ahmed


2
P 2 Fc || kc
fc .
A 3 lu b
or
Note: No need of reducing cross sectional area of compression member if holes are filled by a
material which has at least the same strength as the timber column.

8.3.3 Design of Timber Beam


Beams and their supports are designed to resist the developed bending, shear and bearing
stresses. The minimum width of the beams shall not be kept less than 50mm or 1/50 th of the span,
whichever is greater. The depth of beam shall not be taken more than three time its width without
lateral stiffening. Typical span range of timber beams are:
Roof beams (with simple and continuous span) 3m to 7.5m
Floor beams 1.8m to 6m (with simple span)
3m to 12m (with continuous span)
a) Design for simple bending
M .c M
fb Fb ||
I S
When depth of beam larger than 300mm, allowable bending stress is modified as
Fb || | 300 d . Fb ||
19

When circular section is used by timber beam, allowable bending stress is increased by form
factor of 1.18 as
Fb || | 1.18 * Fb ||
When notches are located at or near to the middle of the span, the net depth (d-d 2) should be used
in determining the bending strength of the beam where d2 is depth of notch.

b) Design for shear


V .Q V . A. y
fs Fs ||
I .t I .t
If the section of beam is rectangular,
3V
fs Fs ||
2b . d
If beam notched at lower (tension) face at supports,
3V . d
fs 2
Fs ||
2b . d1
where d1 --depth of beam at notch

c) Design for bearing stresses of support of beam


In order to transmit the load from the beam to the support, the bearing stresses developed on the
support should satisfy the following equation:
End Re action
fp Fc
Bearing Area of the Beam

4 Part II: Design of Timber Structures by M. Ahmed


When the direction of bearing stress is at angle to the direction of the grain in any structural
member, the permissible bearing stress in that member shall be calculated by the formula:
Fc || . Fc
Fc
Fc || . sin 2 Fc . cos 2
where --angle between bearing stress & the direction of grain of timber.
Flexural member excepting roof timbers which are supported directly on masonry or concrete
wall shall have a length of bearing of not less than 75mm. Members supported on corbels, offsets
and roof timbers on a wall shall bear immediately on and be fixed to wall-plate not less than
75mm x 400mm.
d) Design for deflection
Apart from strength requirement, the serviceability of the beam under service load should be
maintained. One of the serviceability requirements is deflection. The maximum permissible
deflection of timber beam:
l

-for beams supporting brittle material (like partition wall), 360
l l

-for other cases of beam, 240 for interior span and 180 for cantilever span
e) Design of Beam for bi-axes bending
Mx My
fb Fb
Sx Sy
2 2
x y permissible deflection

8.3.4 Members Subjected to Combined Action of Axial-load & Bending

a) Axial Tension and Bending


Interaction equation used for design of member subjected to combined axial tension and bending
is given as:
ft f
b 1 .0
Ft || Fb ||
ft fb
where , are tensile and bending stresses.
Ft , Fb || are allowable tensile and bending stresses.

b) Axial Compression and Bending


Interaction equation used for design of member subjected to combined axial compression and
bending is given as:
fC fb
|
1 .0
Fc || Fb ||
fc fb
where , are compressive and bending stresses.
|
Fc || Fb ||
, are allowable compressive and bending stresses.
Allowable compressive stress considering the buckling effect is determined as follow:

5 Part II: Design of Timber Structures by M. Ahmed


lu |
11, Fc || Fc ||
-For b
l 1 l b
4

Fc || Fc || . 1 u
|
11 u k c ,
b 3 kc
-For
lu | 0.3E timber
kc 50 , Fc ||
-For
b lu b 2

8.4 Structural Connections


Connections used in timber structures are:
-Bolted connection
-Nailed connection
-Screwed connection
Design of connections timber structures largely empirical they are based on codes
recommendations. Design of connection is made to prevent any joint failure.

8.4.1 Bolted Connection: -Bolts along with timber-connectors are commonly used
fasteners in structural connections. The allowable load per bolt is less than that of timber-
connector therefore, more bolts are required.
Bolted connection may be made using gusset- or splice-plate made of timber. The total combined
thickness of gusset- or splice-plate on either side of joint shall not be less than 1.5 times the
thickness of the main member.
Size of bolts varies from 10mm to 40mm, the most commonly being 12mm, 16mm, 18mm
20mm, 22mm and 25mm. Greater efficiency is obtained using larger bolt than small ones. Bolt
holes are drilled 1.5mm larger than diameter of bolt.
Bolts transmit the joint load by contact bearing pressure between bolt & timber member, bolt
shear & bending of bolt. To spread large bolt force on the surface of softer timber member,
washers must be used at both ends of the bolt.

i) Design of Joint for Bearing Stress: -For safe design of bolted joint, bearing pressure
developed between the shank of bolt and timber member is limited to the allowable bearing
pressure of timber.
P
fp Fp
i.e
l . db
-Allowable bearing pressure between bolt and timber member if the direction of pressure parallel
to the grain of timber is given by:
Fp k1 . Fc ||
l d b ratio as given in table below.
where k1 constant depends on
l --length of bolt in the member
db diameter of bolt.

6 Part II: Design of Timber Structures by M. Ahmed


Table 3: Constant k1
l db 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
k1 1.0 0.97 0.88 0.76 0.65 0.57 0.51 0.46 0.41 0.38 0.34 0.30

-Allowable bearing pressure between bolt and timber member if the direction of pressure
perpendicular to the grain of timber is given by:
Fp k2 . k3 . Fc
l d
where k2 --constant depends of b ratio as given in table below.

k3 constant depends on diameter of bolt as given in table below.

Table 4: Constant k2
l db 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
k2 1.0 0.98 0.86 0.76 0.68 0.61 0.55

Table 5: Constant k3
db (mm) 6 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24
k3 2.50 1.75 1.68 1.60 1.52 1.41 1.37 1.33 1.27
db (mm) 27 30 33 35 39 42 50 75
k3 1.23 1.19 1.16 1.14 1.12 1.10 1.33 1.0

ii) Design of Joint for Shearing Stress of bolt: -For safe design of bolted joint,
Joint-load per bolt due to shearing of bolt is limited to the allowable bolt load for shearing of bolt
as given below.
a) For one sheared cross-section per bolt
Allowable bolt load per bolt is taken as the smallest value of the following equation:
3.5t1 . d b (1 0.6 sin 1 )
3.5t . d (1 0.6 sin )
2 b 2
Fbp ( N )
16d b (1 0.25 sin 1 )
2

16d 2 (1 0.25 sin )


b 2

b) For two sheared cross-section per bolt


Allowable bolt load per bolt is taken as the smallest value of the following:
14t1 . d b (1 0.6 sin 1 )
7t . d (1 0.6 sin )
2 b 2
Fbp ( N )
32d b (1 0.25 sin 1 )
2

32d 2 (1 0.25 sin )


b 2
where ddiameter of bolts in mm.
1 & 2 are angle between the direction of load and the direction of grain of timber in
member 1 and member 2.

Washer used for bolted connection

7 Part II: Design of Timber Structures by M. Ahmed


t 0.3db
db + 1mm
db + 1mm

t 0.3db
3db 3.4db 3.5db

Spacing of Bolts

7db 100mm C
7db 7db 7db
2.5db
2.5db 4db 2.5db
4db 2.5db
T T
2.5db 7db
T
4db

C
2.5db 4db 2.5db 2.5db
4db 4db
2.5db
7db 2.5db

7db 2.5db 7db


4db
T
2.5db
4db
2.5db
2.5db
7db
4db
7db

8 Part II: Design of Timber Structures by M. Ahmed


8.4.2 Nailed Connection: -Nailed connections are suitable for light timber structures. They
can safely transmit joint load of 35kN. In hard wood, nailed joints can transmit even up to 50kN.
But in hard woods, pre-boring have to be done, the pre-bore should not exceed 4/5 th of the
diameter on nail shank.
Nailed connection may be made using gusset-or splice-plate made of timber. The total combined
thickness of gusset- or splice-plate on either side of joint shall not be less than 1.5 times the
thickness of the main member.
Commonly used nails have length of 2 to 25cm and, diameters of shank of nail are 10mm, 8mm,
6.3mm, 5.6mm, 5mm, 4.5mm, 4mm, 3.55mm, 3.15mm, 2.8mm, 2.24mm, 2mm, 1.8mm, 1.6mm,
1.4mm & 1.24mm. Diameter of head of nail is approximately 2 times diameter of shank of nail.

Holding Power of Nails in Wood


Holding power of nails in wood is the resistance they offer to withdrawal. Withdrawal resistance
of nails will depend on the direction of the withdrawal force with respect to the axis of the nails.
i) Withdrawal resistance of nail parallel to the axis of nail: - The resistance to withdrawal in
this case depends on:
-the nature & condition of wood
-the slope & other characteristics of nail
The general formula for safe nail holding power is given by
P 954 G 2.5 . d N
Where P resistance in N per linear cm of penetration when the nail is driven perpendicular to
the grain
G specific gravity of wood
dN diameter of nail in cm
ii) Withdrawal resistance of nail perpendicular to the axis of nail: -In this case, joint load will
act at right angle to the axis of nail and, therefore, shear is involved, rather than tension as in
previous case. The formula for safe lateral resistance is given by
P k . dN
Where P lateral resistance in N
k proportionality factor depending on the kind of wood used and type of joint
dN diameter of nail in cm

Details of Nailed Joints

- Diameter of nail shall be between 1 6 to 1 4 of the thickness of the member.


-Spacing of nails in the direction of joint force 10dN
-Spacing of nails at right angles to the direction of joint force 3d N
-Edge distance in the direction of joint force 10N
-Edge distance perpendicular to the direction of forces 5d N
-In lengthening of joint, minimum of 4 nails on either side of the joint are used to avoid any
eccentricity.
-In a node joint, a minimum of 2 nails are provided to keep the member in position.

9 Part II: Design of Timber Structures by M. Ahmed


10 Part II: Design of Timber Structures by M. Ahmed