Foschi’s method of strain calculation of the metal plate connectors compared to program complex APM Wood

Structural mechanics

Metal plate connectors (MPC) are used for attaching together different parts of wooden structures, especially truss joints. Plates have rectangular form, they usually are made out of steel and sometimes can be covered by protection layer, for example, by zinc. Teeth of the plate can have different shape, length and mutual position. In order to connect wooden bars, MPC are pressed symmetrically on both sides of the structure, that is why attached elements should have the same cross-sectional width. For better adjustment of the elements, their ends are usually polished. Compression is carried out with special equipment and can take place both at the plants and at the construction site. The simplest algorithm of strain calculation of the joints with MPC can described, as follows: the construction is computed by usual methods of structural mechanics (FEM, flexibility method, force method) assuming all the nodes connected with plates are absolutely rigid. Then, using obtained internal forces and reference data about loads, leading to destruction or pulling MPC out of wood (laboratory tests are made by the manufacturer), appropriate plates are chosen. One of the program complexes using this pattern is APM Wood, the part of computer-aided design software APM Civil Engineering. The disadvantage of this algorithm is that it does not consider uneven distribution of forces on the various teeth of a plate and deformations appearing in the plates themselves, which leads to considerable error in found internal forces and inaccurate selection of plates. The model proposed by Foschi [1] is free of these disadvantages and can be used to estimate deformations and forces in MPS’s teeth. The paper gives an analysis of algorithm of calculation the nodes attached with metal plate connector and comparison to the program complex APM Wood. As an example, the problem of wooden bar fixed on both sides by MPC and under the influence of a force applied along the longitudinal axis is solved. As a result, it is concluded that consideration of plate and teeth flexibility in finite-element scheme is very essential for calculation accuracy, uneven stress distribution between the dowels has big influence on strain computation of the whole construction.