Timber High-Rise Buildings

Parametric study of the influence of preliminary design parameters on the wind-induced dynamic response of timber high-rise buildings

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The implementation of timber as a load-bearing and stabilizing material for high-rise structures has significantly increased over the last decades due to its potential of reducing the environmental footprint of a structure. Timber structures present a reduced global stiffness and self-weight compared to structures incorporating traditional construction materials, making them prone to high accelerations caused by wind load which affects the structural integrity and user comfort. The acceleration of a structure is a highly complex parameter that must be determined using modal analysis computed by a full-scale finite element model, and is significantly influenced by the magnitude of the wind and vertical loads, as well as the global stiffness of the structure. During the preliminary design phase, it is the responsibility of structural engineers to determine the feasibility of the design and estimate the amount of material required and the distribution of the structural elements. However, this process must be done under a limited amount of time, forcing engineers to rely on rules of thumb and previous experience, which are not currently available for the design of timber high-rise structures. Therefore, the goal of this investigation is to perform a parametric study to determine the influence of various parameters on the design of timber high-rise structures and assist structural engineers in making well-argued decisions during the preliminary design phase. The preliminary design parameters to be studied in the parametric study are: stability system design, connection stiffness and building height. The ranges for the parameters were selected based on extreme values such that clear trends regarding their influence on design could be visualized. This decision limits the design feasibility of some configurations studied in this investigation. The selected stability systems to be studied are glulam frame, CLT core and glulam diagrid. The design verification for each design alternative is done using ULS and SLS criteria provided by Eurocode, as well as a simplified method to estimate the dynamic response of the structure. Finally, the sizing of the structural elements and data collection was done by the implementation of evolutionary algorithms. From the data collected it was determined that the most influential design parameter for the design of timber high-rise structures is the stability system selection given that it determines the global stiffness, which showed a significantly higher influence on the dynamic response of the structure than its self-weight. Moreover, the efficiency of the different stability systems was assessed based on the maximum slenderness they could achieve compared to the amount of material they required. Based on this definition, it was determined that the glulam diagrid is two times more efficient than the CLT core and three times more efficient than the glulam frame. The efficiency of the glulam diagrid is caused by its high global stiffness provided by the triangular configuration of the diagonal elements. These observations prove that the effect of timber’s low density can be mitigated by the implementation of efficient stability systems. The influence of connection stiffness was determined to be directly related to the ability of the stability system to provide lateral stability to the structure. The influence of this parameter on form stable structures such as the CLT core and the glulam diagrid, proved to be nearly negligible, while for non-form stable structures such as the glulam frame it proved to be highly influential. However, it was also determined that the addition of rotational stiffness in the connections causes an exponential increase of the costs and environmental footprint of the structure, which decreases their design feasibility. Finally, the influence of building height on the design is visualized by its effect on the dynamic response of the structure caused by the logarithmic increase of the wind speed as this parameter increases, as well as a decrease of the global stiffness proportional to the efficiency of the stability system.