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A serviceability investigation of dowel-type timber connections featuring single softwood dowels

Wilkinson, George; Augarde, Charles

A serviceability investigation of dowel-type timber connections featuring single softwood dowels Thumbnail


George Wilkinson


Dowel-type connections are common in timber engineering, but current design codes are largely based on empiricism and are oversimplified. This inhibits the optimised use of connections, which is essential for the design of economically efficient timber structures. This study investigates the use of 3D computational modelling to predict the slip modulus (a key measure of stiffness) of single and double shear, dowel-type connections featuring a single softwood dowel. Initial modelling was conducted on parallel- and perpendicular-to-grain connections to establish a suitable mesh size and to validate the model against experimental work. The slip modulus in angled orientations was then investigated, a relationship given no consideration in design codes. The results show that the current design codes greatly overestimate the slip modulus in both single and double shear connections involving timber dowels. In comparison, the models in this study are more than twice as accurate at predicting slip modulus. Furthermore, slip modulus was shown to vary sinusoidally as the grain-to-grain angle changes between the parallel and perpendicular orientations. Differences between model and experimental values can be attributed to uncertainty in the mechanical properties of the timber in the experiments, the assumption of uniform properties for timber in each principal direction in the models, and the inherent variability of timber which affects experimental results.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 27, 2022
Online Publication Date Apr 6, 2022
Publication Date Jun 1, 2022
Deposit Date Apr 12, 2022
Publicly Available Date Apr 6, 2023
Journal Engineering Structures
Print ISSN 0141-0296
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 260
Article Number 114210
Public URL


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