InTrans / Aug 14, 2018

Strength and stiffness of reinforced Yellow-Poplar glued laminated beams

In bridge applications, it is often necessary to minimize the depth of the bridge structure to provide for the required hydraulic opening or reduce the volume of approach fill. For bridges that utilize structural glued-laminated (glulam) timber beams as stringers, reinforcement using thin strips of pultruded E-glass-fiber-reinforced plastic (GFRP) composites may permit reduced depth, because the reinforcement has the potential to increase stiffness and strength. This study is part of an overall effort aimed at evaluating the potential for commercial production of glulam-GFRP beams in current woodlaminating
plants and a wood adhesive compatible with existing equipment. Twelve Yellow-Poplar glulam GFRP beams were commercially manufactured, and their performance was evaluated. The GFRP panels were bonded to the wood with a resorcinol formaldehyde adhesive to provide the reinforcement. The simplicity of the process used to manufacture the test beams indicates that the commercial production of glulam-GFRP beams is feasible. Increases of 18 percent in stiffness and 26 percent in strength were achieved by adding 3 percent of GFRP by volume. The bending strength values of the beams predicted by the ASTM D3737 procedure
correlate well with the experimental values. However, the observed delamination of the reinforcement indicates that improved bonding strength of wood‰ÛÒGFRP interfaces is needed. Results of this study will be useful to manufacturers interested in improving the performance of glulam timber beams.