Shear walls for multi-storey timber buildings

Sammanfattning: Wind loads acting on wooden building structures need to be dealt with adequately in order to ensure that neither the serviceability limit state nor the ultimate limit state is exceeded. For the structural designer of tall buildings, avoiding the possibly serious consequences of heavy wind loading while taking account at the same time of the effects of gravitation can be a real challenge. Wind loads are usually no major problem for low buildings, such as one- to two-storey timber structures involving ordinary walls made by nailing or screwing sheets of various types to the frame, but when taller structures are designed and built, serious problems may arise.Since wind speed and thus wind pressure increases with height above the ground and the shear forces transmitted by the walls increase accordingly, storey by storey, considerable efforts can be needed to handle the strong horizontal shear forces that are exerted on the bottom floor in particular. The strong uplift forces that can develop on the wind side of a structure are yet another matter that can be critical. Accordingly, a structure needs to be anchored to the substrate or to the ground by connections that are properly designed. Since the calculated uplift forces depend very much upon the models employed, the choice of models and simplifications in the analysis that are undertaken also need to be considered carefully.The present licentiate thesis addresses questions of how wind loads acting on multi-storey timber buildings can be best dealt with and calculated for in the structural design of such buildings. The conventional use of sheathing either nailed or screwed to a timber framework is considered, together with other methods of stabilizing timber structures. Alternative ways of using solid timber elements for stabilization are also of special interest.The finite element method was employed in simulating the structural behaviour of stabilizing units. A study was carried out of walls in which sheathing was nailed onto a timber frame. Different structural levels were involved, extending from modelling the performance of a single fastener and of the connection of the sheathing to frame, to the use of models of this sort for studying the overall structural behaviour of wall elements that possess a stabilizing function. The results of models used for simulating different load cases for walls agreed reasonably well with experimental test results. The structural properties of the fasteners binding the sheathing to the frame, as well as of the connections between the members of the frame were shown to have a strong effect on the simulated behaviour of shear wall units.Regarding solid wall panels, it was concluded that walls with a high level of both stiffness and strength can be produced by use of such panels, and also that the connections between the solid wall panels can be designed in such a way that the shear forces involved are effectively transmitted from one panel to the next.