Bending-Stabilised Timber Structure


Bending-Stabilised Timber Structure
Type: Student
Category: Build
Date: Nov, 2016

Bending-Stabilised Timber Structure

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A new pavilion that uses integral mechanical attachments for high-speed assembly of complex and large timber structures.

The Whole Story

The Digital Age is transforming how we design, build, and produce structures with digital modelling and fabrication tools now available that provide a degree of flexibility and coordination never previously available. The Bending-Stabilised Timber pavilion seeks to adapt digital fabrication strategies in timber structures construction through the use of integral mechanical connection methods for increasing the spanning capacities and robustness, while retaining their benefits of lightweight, high-speed, and uncomplicated construction.
The pavilion contains eight counter-balancing cantilevers constructed from 710 CNC cut 9mm plywood plates, which assembled into segments, vacuum bonded to the continuous fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) skin, folded into branches, and attached to a central suspended spine. The design of the curvilinear branches was via a digital model with multi-scale parametric control over the geometry of the individual ‘branches’ as well as the generation of all component parts with integral mechanical attachments.
The fabrication phase was just two weeks, with the structure being exhibited at the official opening of the University of Queensland Centre for Future Timber Structures. This benchmark project, executed in a condensed time frame, delivered significant improvements on the spanning capacity and robustness of integral mechanical attachments fabrication systems, whilst also offering new methods for simple, rapid assembly of long-span bending structures.
Three key advancements have been introduced in this structure:
Material hybridity: A fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) skin is applied on one side of a cantilevering branch, constructed of a series of discrete plywood sandwich segments. The FRP provides a continuous tensile skin, significantly increasing spanning capacity, thus enabling thinner, lighter, and more economical plywood grades to be used throughout.
Bending-stabilised geometry: A positive curvature is introduced into the beam, which will create tension in the continuous FRP layer and compression in the timber segments.
Rotational mechanical connection: The segments can rotationally ‘folded’ together, rather than axially ‘pushed’ together. The beam can therefore self-assemble if subjected to a bending load.

Bending-Stabilised Timber Structure

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