An Experimental and Numerical Study on Decayed Azobé Sheet piles
Kalaichelvi Senthil Kumar, Ganesh ShriRaam (TU Delft Civil Engineering & Geosciences)
van de Kuilen, J.W.G. (mentor)
Degree granting institution
Kamath, A.C. (graduation committee)
Ravenshorst, G.J.P. (graduation committee)
Cicirello, A. (graduation committee)
Delft University of Technology
Civil Engineering | Structural Engineering
Given the desire to construct more structures using sustainable building materials, demand for wood and other bio-based building materials has risen dramatically over the decade. While timber itself is a carbon-neutral material and can sometimes even be carbon-negative, reusing wooden structural members made that have been in service for several years can widen the approach to structural design using wood. In the extensive network of rivers and canal systems that the Netherlands has, the banks are often covered with sheet-pile walls and a majority of these are made of timber. Tropical hardwood, especially Azobé (Lophira alata), due to its high biological resistance to decay, is used to make these sheet-piles. However, when exposed to the groundwater table for a long period of time, the wood undergoes decay due to bacteria destroying the cellulose slowly, while the lignin remains constant, and over decades the large cellulose molecules are replaced by water making the walls weaker.
In this study, the characteristic mechanical properties of Azobé sheet-piles that have been in service for 57 years have been found, so that they can be assigned with an appropriate strength class and reused. Destructive, quasi-destructive and non-destructive tests have been performed on the sheet-pile boards to understand the correlation between them and to also ascertain to what level tests on timber specimens that do not affect their usability can be reliable. Since the knowledge of how visual grading can be performed on used, decayed structural timber, especially hardwood specimens is limited, a methodology has been developed in line with NEN-EN 14081-1:2019 along with the definition of a visual decay score. The results from the RPD tests are quantified in terms of the resistographic measure value to identify whether, in tropical hardwood, is there any effect in the drilling direction and whether this value can qualitatively or quantitatively describe the actual mechanical strength of the sheet-pile boards. The stress-wave tests and the four-point bending test are used to calculate the strength and stiffness of the boards, which determine the characteristic values, that are also based on their wet density (at which the tests are conducted). The results obtained are also analyzed for occurring patterns in terms of the location of the board in the sheet-pile wall (top or bottom), testing configuration (E-side or W-side-up) and variation in thickness within the boards due to decay.
The bending test performed on the boards is modelled numerically in multiple iterations with curved-shell, layered-shell and 3D brick elements also varying the respective material models to find which one of them is best suitable to model bending of timber. The load-sharing mechanism observed when grouping multiple timber specimens has been simulated numerically to predict the characteristic load-sharing factor of the sheet-pile wall system.
To reference this document use:
Sheet pile wall
load sharing factor
Four point bending test
Stress wave propagation
bending moment capacity
visual decay analysis
Tongue and groove
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© 2023 Ganesh ShriRaam Kalaichelvi Senthil Kumar