The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Variability of the compressive strength of parallel strand lumber

TitleVariability of the compressive strength of parallel strand lumber
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsArwade SR, Winans R, Clouston PL
JournalJournal of Engineering Mechanics
Start Page405
Date Published04/2010
KeywordsComposite lumber, Measurement, Mechanics, Probability, Random processes, Simulation, Strength, Wood

Measurement of the compressive strength of parallel strand lumber (PSL) is conducted on specimens of varying size with nominally identical mesostructure. The mean of the compressive strength is found to vary inversely with the specimen size, and the coefficient of variation of the strength is found to decrease with increasing specimen size, and to be smaller than the coefficient of variation of strength for solid lumber. The correlation length of the compressive strength is approximately 0.5 m, and this correlation length leads to significant specimen-to-specimen variation in mean strength. A computational model is developed that includes the following properties of the PSL mesostructure: the strand length, the grain angle, the elastic constants, and the parameters of the Tsai-Hill failure surface. The computational model predicts the mean strength and coefficient of variation reasonably well, and predicts the correct form of correlation decay, but overpredicts the correlation length for compressive strength, likely because of sensitivity to the distribution of strand length used in the model. The estimates of the statistics of the PSL compressive strength are useful for reliability analysis of PSL structures, and the computational model, although still in need of further development, can be used in evaluating the effect of mesostructural parameters on PSL compressive strength.