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Moment Resisting Wood Post-to-Concrete Pier Connection

Biological Systems Engineering Department


University of Wisconsin-Madison
Date of Graduation: May 13, 2006
Paper Submission Date: May 22, 2006

__________________ ______
Aaron Flouro
(Date)
(Designer)

__________________
Kyle Bunnow
(Designer)

______
(Date)

__________________
Dr. David Bohnhoff
(Advisor)

______
(Date)

Abstract:
The vast majority of agricultural structures are post-frame buildings. The posts in these
structures are either connected to a concrete slab foundation, or they are embedded in the
ground in which case they are a main element of the buildings foundation. To minimize
decay, embedded wood posts must be treated with a wood preservative. Because the use
of preservative-treated wood is somewhat problematic, it is advantageous to use
something other than the standard embedded wood post. One such alternative is to
replace the embedded portion of a wood post (i.e., the only portion that typically needs to
be preservative-treated) with a concrete pier. The goal of this research project was to
develop the connection needed to adequately attach a concrete pier to a wood post. More
specifically, the goal was to design a connection that would have a bending strength and
stiffness near that of the components it was connecting. The approach to this project
involved breaking the connection into three main elements for design, theoretical analysis
and laboratory testing: (1) a steel bracket portion, (2 ) a steel bracket-to-concrete pier
connection, and (3) a steel bracket-to-wood post connection.
For the attachment of a 3-layer, mechanically laminated post fabricated from nominal 2by 6-inch lumber, the final proposed design consists of two 14-inch long by 5.5-inch
wide plates that are 0.1875 inches thick. These plates are sandwiched between the
lumber plies, and held in place with two _ bolts and four _ by 2 _ steel piercing
screws. The plates extend 2 inches into the concrete pier. Two rebars, each with a 180degree bend, and a formed length of 24 inches are welded to the steel plates. The two
180-degree rebars are joined by transverse rebar welded on to form a location for the
longitudinal rebar that will be used as reinforcement in the concrete pier.

Key Words:
Post-Frame, Wood-to-Concrete Connection, Post, Pier, Wood Preservative, Moment
Connection, Mechanically Laminated Post, Mechanical Connection, Connection
Acknowledgements:
We would like to thank Dr. David Bohnhoff for all the time, effort, guidance, and
funding he put forth for this project. We would also like to thank the Biological Systems
Engineering Department at The University of Wisconsin-Madison for the use of their
equipment and facilities.

Table of Contents

Page #

1. Statement of Need. 1
1.1 Post-Frame Buildings.. 1
1.2 Concrete Piers. 2
1.3 Concrete-To-Wood Post Connections 8
1.4 Design Need 10
2. Design Goal and Specifications 11
3. Overview/Approach.. 12
4. Required Strength.. 13
5. Design... 14
5.1 Steel Bracket Design... 14
5.2 Steel Bracket-to-Concrete Connection Design... 17
5.2.1 Steel Bracket-to-Concrete Connection Design One. 17
5.2.2 Steel Bracket-to-Concrete Connection Design Two 31
5.3 Steel Bracket-to-Wood Connection Design 40
5.3.1 Fastener Slip-Modulus. 41
5.3.2 Steel Bracket-to-Wood Fastener Designs 42
5.3.3 Steel Bracket-to-Wood Results and Discussion... 47
6. Manufacturability. 53
7. Economic Analysis... 55
8. Final Design.. 56
9. Summary... 62
Appendix A: Calculated Strengths 63
A.1 Concrete.. 63
A.1.1 Bending Strength..63
A.1.2 Shear Strength.. 64
A.2 Wood...66
A.2.1 Bending Strength..66
A.2.2 Shear Strength.. 67

Appendix B: Test Methods and Equipment...68


B.1 Steel Bracket-to-Concrete Tests..68
B.2 Steel Bracket-to-Wood Tests.. 70
B.3 Load-Slip Tests... 71
Appendix C: Measured Test Results...73
References...76
Index....79

1. Statement of Need

1.1 Post-Frame Buildings


A post-frame building is a building whose primary framing system is largely or entirely
comprised of individual post-frames (Figure 1.1). A post-frame is the two-dimensional
structure that is formed by the attachment of a wood truss (or rafters) to one or more
vertical timber posts (a.k.a. columns) (NFBA, 1999b). Loads are transferred to the
ground through the posts that are usually embedded into the ground, and thus act as the
buildings foundation. In certain situations the posts may be attached to a concrete or
masonry foundation. Preservative treatment is needed when posts are embedded in the
ground, directly exposed to the outdoor environment, or otherwise placed in a very humid
environment.

Figure 1.1. Example of a post-frame building

The modern post-frame building evolved from the pole building developed by H.
Howard Doane in the 1930s (Knight, 1989). Round poles, while still used in some
construction, were largely replaced by solid-sawn rectangular timbers in the 1960s
making girt and truss attachment easier. During the 1980s solid sawn lumber was
replaced by mechanically-laminated dimension lumber. The change to mechanicallylaminated posts came about due to the fact that such assemblies have a significantly
higher bending strength to cost ratio when compared to their solid-sawn counterparts.
Additionally, it is easier to fully preservative-treat dimension lumber than it is thicker
solid-sawn timber. Today, most posts are still mechanically-laminated although some
glue-laminated assemblies are used. Table 1 shows an approximate breakdown of
mechanically-laminated post sizes currently being produced by three major
manufacturers. Note that the majority of mechanically-laminated columns are 3-ply
assemblies fabricated from nominal 2- by 6-inch dimension lumber.
1

Table 1.1. Production sizes of mechanically-laminated posts

Percent of Total Mechanically-Laminated Post Production


3-ply nominal
3-ply nominal
All other post
2- by 6-inch posts
2- by 8-inch post
sizes
62
17
21

Manufacturer
Lester (Boor, P. 2005)
Morton (Kotwitz, M. 2005)

80

15

Wick (Sloniker, M. 2005)

85

10

Post-frame buildings are becoming more attractive as public interest in green buildings
increases. Green buildings are structures that conserve natural resources in their
construction, operation, and retirement. The greenness of post frame buildings is
primarily due to (1) their light, structural efficient wood framework that conserves
building materials, and (2) their embedded post foundations that eliminate the need for
more expensive concrete frost walls or grade beam foundations. The use of embedded
post foundations also enables quick construction of the building shell, which in turn
protects interior concrete flat work from precipitation, wind, and temperature extremes.

1.2 Concrete Piers


In recent years, there has been increased interest in replacing the embedded portion of
wood posts with concrete piers. These concrete piers may be either precast or cast-inplace components. Figure 1.2 shows use of precast piers developed by Perma Column,
Inc. (PCI. 2004), and Figure 1.3 shows the installation of cast-in-place piers on a research
site (Bohnhoff et al, 2002a). Both types have their advantages and disadvantages.
Construction of cast-in-place piers has been enhanced by the broad availability of column
forming tubes and the manufacture of special column footing forms which attach directly
to column forming tubes such as the one shown in Figure 1.4 (Bohnhoff et al, 2003).
Column footing forms enable quick fabrication of a concrete post with a bell-shaped
bottom for increased bearing capacity and uplift resistance.

Figure 1.2. Perma-Columns in use (PCI, 2005a)

Figure 1.3. Cast-in-place concrete piers used in a post-frame building for diaphragm action studies
located in Lester Prairie, MN (Bohnhoff, 2002a)

Figure 1.4. Concrete column forming tube

Increased interest in concrete piers can be attributed to the following seven, largely
interrelated reasons.
1. Durability. End users have more confidence in the long-term durability of a
concrete foundation than in a preservative-treated wood foundation. This is
largely due to the poor performance of many under-treated solidsawn posts (see
Figure 1.5). It is important to note that to date, there are no documented failures
of mechanically-laminated wood posts that have been properly treated for ground
contact with chromated copper arsenate (CCA).

Figure 1.5. Treatment penetration comparison of a solid-sawn post vs. a mechanically laminated column

2. Reduced availability and/or higher cost of CCA-treated lumber. Numerous


scientific studies have shown that wood properly treated with CCA poses no
significant harm to humans or their environment (Burkholder, 2004; Lebow,
2004; Townsend, et al, 2003; Knight, 2004). Nevertheless, CCA chemical
producers under a continual barrage of lawsuits by individuals and groups largely
concerned about arsenate exposures worked with the US Environmental
Protection Agency on a voluntary phase out of CCA. Effective December 31,
2003, no wood treater or manufacturer could treat wood with CCA for most
residential uses (http://www.epa.gov/oppad001/reregistration/cca). While posts
for agricultural and commercial buildings can still be CCA-treated, the partial ban
on CCA significantly reduces the amount of wood that is CCA-treated, making it
more difficult and expensive to obtain.
3. Corrosiveness and other potential dangers of CCA alternatives. Simultaneous with
their request to phase out CCA for certain applications, chemical companies
began promoting already existing alternative treatments, primarily Alkaline
Copper Quat (ACQ) and Acid Copper Chromate (ACC). Like CCA, these
alternative treatments rely on copper toxicity for effective protection from decay
organisms. Unlike CCA, they are not time-tested and tend to leach more copper
into the environment. They also contain other dangerous chemicals like
ammonia. To combat leaching, up to three or four times the copper is used in
initial wood treatment (Burkholder, 2004; Lebow, 2004). This higher copper
concentration results in additional loss of copper, and increased galvanic
corrosion when metals less noble than copper (e.g., magnesium, zinc, iron, steel,
aluminum) are driven into or brought into direct surface contact with the treated
wood (Lebow, 2004). Excessive corrosion of metal fasteners is of primary
concern to engineers focused on structural integrity and safety of building
occupants (Burkholder, 2004; Knight, 2004).
4. Reduced use of preservative treated lumber. Where possible, engineers try to
eliminate preservative-treated lumber because (1) it costs more than non-treated
lumber, (2) it generally requires the use of more expensive, less-corrosive
fasteners, and (3) preservative wood treatments are pesticides which can make
eventual disposal of preservative-treated wood problematic. Table 1.2 gives the
board-foot costs for preservative-treated and untreated lumber and Figures 1.6 and
1.7 show the graphical representations. The cost of preservative treatment alone
will drive engineers to use posts featuring treated wood spliced to untreated wood
in an effort to save money for posts not requiring above ground treatment. Use of
concrete piers in this situation eliminates the treated wood altogether, as well as
the additional assembly costs associated with joining treated and untreated
dimension lumber.
5. Lumber length. As indicated by Table 1.2, the 2x6 dimensional lumber varies
slightly in price (on a board-foot basis) in longer lengths, whereas the 2x8
dimensional lumber becomes increasingly more expensive (on a board-foot basis)
in longer lengths. Additionally, dimension lumber is not readily available in
lengths longer than 20 feet. When concrete piers are used, the overall length of
the wood post is generally shortened by four to seven feet. This means engineers

are using shorter, less expensive lumber to obtain the same building heights, and
can also build structures with 20-foot eave heights using unspliced sidewall posts.
Table 1.2. Wholesale cost of no. 1 southern yellow pine

Lumber
Size
#1 SYP
Nominal 2by 6- inch
#1 SYP
Nominal 2by 8- inch

Cost ($) per Board Foot

Preservative
Treatment

12 foot long

16 foot long

20 foot long

None*

0.39

0.40

0.38

0.6 pcf CCA**

0.54

0.55

0.53

0.6 pcf ACQ***

0.72

0.73

0.71

None*

0.57

0.62

0.60

0.6 pcf CCA**

0.72

0.77

0.75

0.6 pcf ACQ***

0.90

0.95

0.93

*Wholesale prices from Jan. 2006 (which includes shipping and handling of the lumber to the lumberyard). (Kelly, 2006)
** Based off of Woods Run Forest Products cost of 0.6 pcf ACQ treatment per 1000 board feet.
*** Based off of Universal Forest Products cost of 0.6 pcf CCA treatment per 1000 board feet.

0.8
0.7
0.6
0.5

Non-Treated

0.4

CCA-Treated
ACQ-Treated

0.3
0.2
0.1
0
12'

16'

20'

Figure 1.6. Cost comparison (dollars per board foot vs. board length) of non-treated vs. treated 2x6
lumber based on prices fromTable1.2

1.00
0.90
0.80
0.70
0.60

Non-Treated

0.50

CCA-Treated

0.40

ACQ-Treated

0.30
0.20
0.10
0.00
12'

16'

20'

Figure 1.7. Cost comparison (dollars per board foot vs. board length) of non-treated vs. treated 2x8
lumber based on prices from Table 1.2

6. Ease of building disassembly. Agricultural and commercial buildings have a


relatively short functional design life. It is therefore beneficial to be able to easily
disassemble the building components for use in a more functional structure. This
is much easier to accomplish when wood posts are attached to concrete piers.
7. Reuse and/or disposal of treated lumber. There are only a few alternatives for the
reuse of CCA treated lumber. Additionally the reuse of materials, while now a
viable option, may not be allowed in 10 to 20 years. Because of the relatively
small quantity of lumber that would actually be reusable, there is a need for
proper disposal methods. Landfills are the primary disposal alternative in the
U.S. and Canada, however high costs are associated with landfill disposal. Other
ways of disposing of CCA-treated lumber, such as removal of the treatment from
the wood and then reusing it in wood composites, are under investigation
(McQueen, et al. 1998). Through the use of concrete piers, the need for reusing
or disposing of CCA or other chemically treated columns is virtually eliminated.

1.3 Concrete-To-Wood Post Connections


Despite (1) the increased use of concrete piers in post-frame building construction, and
(2) the number of post-frame buildings that have been erected on concrete frost walls and
grade beam foundations, very little attention has been focused on concrete-to-wood post
connections.
Some common steel brackets used by the post-frame industry to attach wood posts to
cast-in-place concrete include U-brackets and L-brackets as shown in Figures 1.8 and 1.9
respectively. Relative cost and design loads for some of these steel connectors by
Simpson Strong-Tie and USP are given in Table 1.3 and their pictures are shown in
Figures 1.10 and 1.11.

Figure 1.8. U-bracket (Bohnhoff, 2002a)

Figure 1.9. L-bracket

Table 1.3. Post-to-concrete connections

Brand

Connection
No.

Nail Uplift (lbs)


133%

166%

Cost

*USP

PA66E

1060

1060

$10.49

**Simpson

PB66

1410

1410

$11.49

*USP PA66E cost is from the retail price at Menards and design loads from (USP, 2006)
**Simpson PB66 cost is from the retail price at Home Depot and design loads from (Simpson, 2006)

Figure 1.10. USP PA66E concrete-to-post connection (USP, 2006)

Figure 1.11. Simpson PB66 concrete-to-post


connection (Simpson, 2006)

Connections made with the connectors in Table 1.3 are treated as pin connections in
design because of the lack of bending strength and stiffness of (1) the steel bracket-toconcrete connection, (2) the steel bracket-to-wood post connection, and/or (3) the steel
bracket itself. With concrete-to-wood post connections that lack bending strength and
stiffness, the building designer must rely largely upon diaphragm action or on rigid
column-to-truss connections to handle horizontal forces applied to the structure. PermaColumn Inc. has the only precast concrete pier currently marketed for post-frame
building use in the United States. The steel bracket used to connect the pier to a wood
post is an integral part of the concrete pier. For this reason, the steel bracket-to-concrete
connection has more bending stiffness than one would expect to get when using the
connectors shown in Figures 1.8, 1.9, and 1.10. Nevertheless, it is important to
understand that the bending stiffness of Perma-Columns steel bracket and steel bracketto-concrete connection do not behave like the wood post or the concrete pier they
connect. Figure 1.12 shows the bending moment versus rotation relationship for PermaColumns PC6300 connection (the PC6300 is the assembly used for 3-ply, 2- by 6-inch
posts). This relationship does not account for the extra rotation due to slip between the
bracket and wood post. For comparison purposes, the moment versus end rotation of 2and 4-foot long, 3-ply 2-by 6-inch posts (MOE = 1.7 million lbf/in2) are also shown. It is
shown from this plot that the bending stiffness of the steel bracket-to-concrete connection
plus that of the bracket itself are equivalent to a 4-foot 3-ply 2- by 6-inch post section.
Since the Perma-Column connection is considerably shorter than the 4- foot board used
for comparison it is apparent that the bending stiffness of the connection is not on the
same level as the material it is intended to replace.

250000

200000

2ft 3-Ply 2x6


150000

4ft 3-ply 2x6


100000

50000

Perma-Column 6300
0
0.01

0.02

0.03

0.04

0.05

Figu
re 1.12. Bending moment to rotation comparison (PCI, 2004)

1.4 Design Need


Development of a concrete-to-wood post connection with significant bending strength
and stiffness would help concrete piers with attached wood posts behave like unjointed
beams. This would enable design engineers to either reduce overall post size, or rely less
on diaphragm action or rigid frame design for building stability. This, in turn, would
make concrete piers more attractive to builders, which would ultimately decrease
dependence on preservative-treated lumber.

10

2. Design Goal and Specifications

The goal of this project is to develop a cost effective, moment resistant connector for
joining mechanically-laminated wood posts to concrete.
For this project, we established the following design specifications:
1. The design bending strength of the connection should be at least 100% of the
design shear & bending strength of the components it connects (i.e., the wood
posts and the concrete pier/slab).
2. The average bending stiffness of the connection region should be at least 75% of
that for the mechanically laminated post.
3. The size of the connection region cannot exceed the width and depth of the
mechanically-laminated post.
4. The connector shall be designed for use with mechanically-laminated post
consisting of three nominal 2- by 6-inch No.1 Southern Yellow Pine wood layers.
5. Under normal expected conditions, the connection shall have a minimum design
life of 50 years.
6. The design of the bracket-to-wood connection shall conform to the NDS for
Wood Construction (AF&PA, 2005) and all wood-related design strength and
stiffness properties shall be calculated in accordance with NDS for Wood
Construction (AF&PA, 2005) when/where applicable.
7. The design of reinforced concrete components shall conform to all requirements
of ACI 318, and reinforced concrete design strength and stiffness properties shall
be determined in accordance with ACI 318 when/where applicable.
8. Where applicable, the design strength and stiffness of steel components shall be
determined in accordance with AISC.
9. The design shall ensure code-conforming wood post-to-bracket connections can
be made at the job-site.
10. The total final connection and post material cost shall not exceed that for the USP
PA66E retail cost of $10.49, or that for the Simpson PB66 retail cost of $11.49.

11

3. Overview/Approach
From a structural design perspective, the connection consisted of three elements: a steel
bracket, a steel-bracket-to-concrete connection, and a steel-bracket-to-wood connection.
It was critical that this concept of three separate units was embraced because it drove the
entire design and testing processes. By separating the design of this connection into three
parts, a logical examination of the load transfer through the beam and connection was
able to be completed.
Target design specification 1 states that the connection must be stronger in shear and
bending than the elements that it connects (i.e., it must be stronger than the wood post
and the concrete pier). If it is stronger than the elements that it connects, then engineers
will generally not need be concerned about it during building design. More specifically,
if in practice, the wood post and the concrete pier meet structural design criteria, then the
connection need not be checked for adequacy.
In order to ensure that the connection is stronger than the components it connects, each of
the three elements must have axial, shear, and bending strengths that exceed those for the
concrete pier, and those for the wood post. More in-depth analysis of three elemental
strength calculations can be found in Required Strengths (Section 4).
The steel bracket considered the most logical element with which to start (Section 5.1).
The steel bracket is defined as the steel portion located above the concrete pier. This
element of the connection needed to be designed first as it was the foundation upon
which the rest of the design evolved.

12

4. Required Strength
First and foremost, a uniform design method for evaluating the wood, concrete, and steel
design strengths was chosen. The two design methods considered were Allowable Stress
Design (ASD) and Load Resistance Factor Design (LRFD). We chose to work with
LRFD for two reasons. First, LRFD evaluates materials through ultimate strength design
that more specifically examines the materials threshold allowing for direct comparison
between our calculated values and test values. Second, LRFD is the primary design
method used in industry for steel and concrete design; thus, by using LRFD all material
values are directly comparable and comply with industry standards.
Once LRFD was chosen, shear and bending strengths for the wood and concrete were
calculated. This was done to determine the strength criteria the connection would need to
meet in accordance with target specification No. 1. The basic strength properties of the
wood from target specification No. 4 and normal weight concrete of 150 pcf, with the
same size of the 3-ply 2x6 column being 4.5 in. x 5.5 in. determined the design loads for
the connection. This allowed for choosing an appropriate kind of steel used in the
connection design. The wood strength properties were determined using Load Resistance
Factor Design equations found in the 2005 NDS (National Design Specifications for
Wood Construction). The concrete strength properties were determined using the ACI
318-05 (American Concrete Institute) specification. The complete set of equations and
steps taken to find the strength properties for the wood and concrete can be found in
Appendix A. The final determined strengths for the wood and concrete can be found in
Table 4.1.
Table 4.1. Calculated strengths for wood and concrete
1

Wood
2
Concrete
1

Shear Strength (kips)


6.24
1.57

Bending Strength (kip-in)


109.17
39.84

The wood used in these calculations was a #1 SYP 3-ply 2x6 column.

The concrete used in these calculations was normal 150 pcf, with the same size of the 3-ply 2x6 column being 4.5 in. x 5.5 in.

Once the controlling strengths of the concrete and wood materials were determined, it
was possible to begin with the connection design.

13

5. Design
5.1 Steel Bracket Design
The steel bracket, or the portion of steel that was located above the steel pier, was the
foundation with which the connection design evolved. The design of the steel bracket
begins by using the required material strengths to determine the size, shape, and overall
dimensions of the steel bracket.
The maximum width of the bracket was established by target specification three. This
design goal established a maximum bracket width of 5.5 inches. From Equation 5.1 and
the chosen width of 5.5 inches the steel thickness needed to transfer the complete bending
moment of the wood (109 kip-inches) through the steel was calculated.

Where:

M = fy*I/c

(5.1)

fy = Yield Stress of Steel


= 60 ksi
I = 1/12*(b*h3)
b = Thickness Needed
= (unknown)
h = Width of plate
= 5.5 inches
c = Depth to the Centriod
= 2.75 in4
From the use of Equation 5.1 it was found that a 7 gauge steel plate (thickness equaling
0.1875 inches) and a width of 5.5 inches had a moment capacity of 56.7 kip-inches. The
56.7 kip-inches value was then multiplied by two because two plates were chosen to form
the bracket. Two plates were then chosen to form the bracket for two main reasons.
First, by using two plates it is possible to symmetrically load the connection which
maximized the material strength. Secondly, by adding additional plates the
manufacturability was decreased and the cost was increased. The resulting moment
capacity for the 7 gauge steel was 113.4 kip-inches. This final value showed the steel had
the ability to completely transfer the bending moment from the wood; thus, 7 gauge steel
was chosen for the bracket design. It should be stated that the moment capacity of the
plate is found with the assumption that a buckling failure is prevented. This possible type
of failure is discussed in further detail later on.
Once the needed width and thickness of the steel plate had been determined the required
plate length was calculated. This was done by using the material strengths found in Table
4.1. First, the moment capacity needed to be transferred by the wood (109 kip-inches)
was divided by shear capacity of the wood (6.24 kips). This step revealed the plate length
to be 17.5 inches. Due to the high cost of steel in todays market, the 17.5-inch plate
length was reduced to 14 inches. With the uncertainty and variability in wood strength
properties the reduced length of 14 inches for the steel plate would adequately suffice.
14

The 14-inch plate length only required a slightly larger shear capacity of 1.56 kips in the
wood to be acceptable.
The preceding steps lead to the conclusion that a bracket with a 5.5-inch width, 14-inch
length, and a 0.1875-inch thickness would have the ability to transfer the moment
through the 3-ply 2x6 into that of the steel bracket. Next, it was necessary to determine
the placement of the bracket.
It was clearly evident that there were two main options available for the bracket
placement. These were to place the steel bracket on the outer edges of the column as
done by Perma-Column in Figure 5.1 or to place the steel bracket between the plies of the
3-ply 2x6 column.

Figure 5.1. Perma-Columns in use (PCI, 2005a)

Each option for bracket placement had advantages and disadvantages that were analyzed.
Advantages of the bracket placement on the outside of the columns included quick
assembly and accurate placement of bolts through the use of pre-drilled holes in the steel
plates. The disadvantages of outside placement include the creation of a U-shape or the
need for a wider concrete pier. If a U-shape with a thin base is created, as is done with
Perma-columns, a very significant problem develops when the bracket is placed under a
bending load. As a U-shaped object is placed in bending it will attempt to straighten as it
transfers the applied load. This attempt to straighten crushes the concrete or buckles the
steel and ultimately renders the column useless. Figure 5.2 shows a typical failure
witnessed during Perma-column testing.

15

Figure 5.2. A typical Perma-column post failure

The second option was to place the steel plates of the bracket between the plies of the 3ply 2x6 column which offered two significant structural benefits not seen with the first
option. The structural benefits of placing the plates between the plies included (1) the
brackets being kept in a straight line through out the entire connection. This offered the
most direct and efficient path of load transfer through the wood and concrete. (2) The
outer plies of the 3-ply 2x6 post constrain the entire area of the steel brackets. The one
disadvantage of this setup was the difficulty in quick fastener placement which resulted
in an increase in the overall assembly time.
After analyzing both options pros and cons, the placement of the brackets between the
plies of the 3-ply 2x6 column became the logical choice. This design was ultimately
chosen because the structural integrity of the column must be of primary concern and not
based solely on how easy it would be assembled.
Once the steel bracket dimensions and placement were determined, the final steps to the
bracket design were to determine what variables would be examined during testing and
what possible failure modes may occur. It was determined that the most probable failure
during testing would be the buckling of the steel plates. Analysis for this type of failure
from using Equation 5.2 determined that the 7 gauge steel plates used would resist a
bending load of 115 kip-inches before reaching a buckling failure.
Mcr = (!/L)*(EIyGJ)0.5

(5.2)

Where:
L = Unbraced Length
= 14 in
E = Modulus of Elasticity
= 29000 ksi
Iy = Moment of Inertia along the minor axis
= 7.14e-3 in4 (7 gauge steel)
_ = Poisson's Ratio for steel
= 0.28
G = E/2(1+_) - Shear Modulus
= 11328.1 ksi
16

= Lb3/3 - Torsional Shear Modulus


= 0.028 in4 (7 gauge steel)

A buckling failure would be unlikely to occur because the115 kip-inches buckling


strength for the steel plates was greater than the 109 kip inches bending strength of the
wood. However, since the plates were sandwiched between the 2x6 plies, some
additional lateral constraint would be exerted on the steel plates helping to resist a
buckling failure. What was still unknown was if this additional constraint would allow
for the use of thinner steel. The use of thinner steel would save money; therefore, a
second type of steel (10 gauge, 0.1345 inches thick) was chosen to be another variable
examined during testing. Recalculating the buckling strength with the appropriate Iy =
3.01e-3 in4 and J = 0.012 in4 indicated that the 10 gauge steel would buckle at a bending
load of 48.9 kip-inches. Testing would allow for determining if the additional
compressive force would be significant enough to keep the thinner steel from buckling,
and if so, the justification for its use. After designing the steel bracket it was possible to
begin designing the interface between the steel bracket and concrete portion of the beam.

5.2 Steel Bracket-to-Concrete Connection Design


The main objective in the steel bracket-to-concrete design was to transfer the bending
moment from the steel bracket into the supporting rebar and concrete. The load transfer
for this section was very complex as it involved the movement of the load through the
concrete to steel. Due to the complexity of this load transfer no standard procedure has
been developed for analyzing this interface. For this reason testing was needed to
examine this portion of the design.
5.2.1 Steel Bracket-to-Concrete Connection Design One
The steel bracket-to-concrete design process began with determining the correct length
that effectively transferred the moment forces from the steel to the concrete. The
calculated concrete bending strength of 39.87 kip-inches was divided by the concrete
shear strength of 1.57 kips. This led to a desirable length of 25 inches. As was the prior
case with the steel bracket, the length was deemed too long due to the current steel prices;
therefore, a shorter, cost acceptable embedment length of 15 inches was chosen. This
length required a slightly larger concrete shear strength of 2.65 kips for complete load
transfer. Furthermore, after choosing the length of 15 inches for embedment an even
shorter embedment length of 10 inches was also chosen. The shorter length allowed for
further examination of the load transfer through the steel to the concrete and how great of
an effect the steel length had on that transfer.
As stated earlier, one of the main concerns was the possibility of the steel plate buckling.
Within the concrete region such a failure mode that would likely be precipitated by the
concrete popping off the side of each plate. To combat the possible buckling failure of
steel plates within the concrete four main modifications to the steel were discussed. First,
a bend could be placed in the edge of the steel to reduce buckling potential. Second, a
taper to the edge of the steel can be made. A tapered, or reduced cross-section is possible
because the bending moment is the steel decreases toward the end of the steel. With a
17

reduced cross-section, the steel cuts though less of the concrete making it harder to
split off the concrete. Third, holes can be placed in the steel allowing concrete to run
continuously across portions of the connection thus reducing the likelihood of concrete
splitting. Finally, the two steel plates can be connected with rebar bracing the laterally
unsupported length of the each plate thereby reducing the buckling potential. After
determining the length and keeping those four ideas in mind, several decisions were
made. Figure 5.3 illustrates a typical connection design described in the following
section.

Figure 5.3. Example connection design

First, it was decided that all connections would include punched holes in the steel
brackets. A hole size of 1.25 inches in diameter was chosen to be placed in the plates as
this was the largest hole possible with the equipment available. Second, all plates would
be secured together using rebar. Four rebar segments, two at the top and two at the
bottom of the plate, with a 5/8-inch spacing for the transverse rebar was chosen. In
addition to reducing the plate buckling potential these bars help attach and transfer load
to the lengthwise rebar that would reinforce the concrete. Keeping these design elements
constant, the effects of either a taper or bend on the edge of the steel were observed. The
dimensions of the taper and bend, shown in subsequent figures, were chosen to allow for
adequate spacing between the punched holes and the edge of the steel.
After deciding on the aforementioned variables, four designs were developed: (1) a 10inch long connection with a bent edge, (2) a 10-inch long connection with a tapered edge,
(3) a 15-inch long connection with a bent edge, and (4) a 15-inch long connection with a
tapered edge. These designs were then constructed using the two steel thicknesses and
18

then each duplicated once to check for consistency with each design. The experimental
design for set one of the steel bracket-to-concrete connections is summarized in Table
5.1. Note that each test specimen is denoted with a four character ID. The first character
references the steel thickness, being classified as either W wide for 7 gauge, or T thin
for 10-gauge steel. The second character refers to either a long (15-inch) connection as
L or short (10-inch) connection as S. The third ID character refers to the taper or
bend placed in the connection, with the taper as T and the bend as B. The final
character in the ID refers to the batch of concrete that was used during testing. It is
important to note that an error was made when pouring concrete, several bracket designs
were covered with concrete from the same batch. The first concrete batch should have
been poured on a single set of designs and the second batch of concrete should have been
poured on the second set of the same designs. This should have been done to block out
the variable of concrete strength during testing. These four parts are combined to form
the final ID of each connection design for example; a thick-long-bend connection from
concrete batch two is noted as WLB2.
Table 5.1. Experimental design for steel bracket-to-concrete connection test set one

Thick (7 gauge)

Bend
Taper

Thin (10 gauge)

Long (15 in)

Short (10 in)

Long (15 in)

Short (10 in)

WLB2

WSB2

TLB1

TSB1

WLB2

WSB2

TLB1

TSB1

WLT2

WST2

TLT1

TST1

WLT1

WST2

TLT2

TST1

The reason for an experimental design with such a wide range of connection designs was
that with such a complex connection, predicting the behavior was virtually impossible.
The four connection designs constructed are shown from a side, top and isometric view in
Figures 5.4 thru Figure 5.15. End views of the taper and bend type connections can be
seen in Figures 5.16 and 5.17, respectively.

19

Figure 5.4. 10-inch bend connection isometric view

20

Figure 5.5. 10-inch bend connection top view

Figure 5.6. 10-inch bend connection side view

21

Figure 5.7. 10-inch taper connection isometric view

22

Figure 5.8. 10-inch taper connection top view

Figure 5.9. 10-inch taper connection side view

23

Figure 5.10. 15-inch bend connection isometric view

24

Figure 5.11. 15-inch bend connection top view

Figure 5.12. 15-inch bend connection side view

25

Figure 5.13. 15-inch taper connection isometric view

26

Figure 5.14. 15-inch taper connection top view

27

Figure 5.15. 15-inch taper connection side view

Figure 5.16. End view of the tapered connection

Figure 5.17. End view of the bend connection

All testing details, test setup, and material properties can be found in Appendix B. The
testing results from the first set of concrete connections shown in Table 5.2 were
28

disappointing with the concrete pier failing at very low loads. It is important to note that
the concrete failed at such low loads and not the connections. Figure 5.18 shows a
typical failure from test set one and Table 5.2 shows the max load applied to the concrete
connections before failure. The values given in Table 5.3 are the max bending strength of
each pier. This was obtained by multiplying one half the maximum applied load by the
19-inch distance between the joint and the load point.

Figure 5.18. A typical failure observed during concrete testing


Table 5.2. Max load strength applied to the concrete-steel connections test set one (lbs)

Maximum Applied Loads (lbs)


Thick (7 gauge)

Bend
Taper

Thin (10 gauge)

Long (15 in)

Short (10 in)

Long (15 in)

Short (10 in)

841

1249

554

585

1112

963

658

601

1537

1306

688

753

1472

1323

1654

486

29

Table 5.3. Maximum bending strength of the concrete-steel connections test set one (kip-inches)

Maximum Bending Strength (kip-inches)


Thick (7 gauge)

Bend
Taper

Thin (10 gauge)

Long (15 in)

Short (10 in)

Long (15 in)

Short (10 in)

8.0

11.9

5.3

5.6

10.6

9.2

6.3

5.7

14.6

12.4

6.6

7.2

14.0

12.6

15.7

4.6

Due to the low load failures of the concrete it was important to determine the actual
strength of the concrete and verify that the bending moment was transferred through the
connection. A 28-day compression strength test, outlined in Appendix C, was run
revealing that the concrete did indeed possess very little compression strength. The
results of the compression test showed that for test set one the compression strength of
the concrete was approximately 2100 lbs. This strength was then further reduced to
account for the fact that column testing took place after only fourteen days. It was found
that the concrete, at the time of testing, possessed approximately 1900 lbs of compression
strength. This strength was then used to find the actual bending strength of the concrete
from test set one. Based on these numbers the calculated bending strength for test set one
was determined to be approximately 27.3 kip-inches. Table 5.4 shows the percentage of
the bending strength transferred, i.e. stiffness of the connections.
Table 5.4. Percentage of bending strength transferred in the connections for test set one

Percentage of Bending Strength Transferred


Thick (7 gauge)

Bend
Taper

Thin (10 gauge)

Long (15 in)

Short (10 in)

Long (15 in)

Short (10 in)

29.5

43.5

19.2

20.8

77.3

67.1

22.9

20.9

53.6

45.5

24.0

26.2

51.4

46.0

57.6

16.9

After completion of test set one it was found that the connections using the taper design
outperformed the bend design. One reason this may have occurred was because it was
found that when removing the concrete piers from the casts, the concrete did not fully
infiltrate the areas around the bend. These gaps could have caused a significant drop in
moment transfer through the steel to the concrete. It was also found that the longer 15inch connections transferred significantly more of the moment when compared to the
shorter 10-inch connections. This was to be expected especially considering that all
30

failures witnessed took place in the concrete. Unfortunately, a definite judgment on the
overall effectiveness of one connection when compared to a second could not be made.
This was due to the fact that all failures were witnessed in the concrete; therefore, it could
be stated that no connections failed.

5.2.2 Steel Bracket-to-Concrete Connection Design Two


Upon completion of the first set of tests it was decided a second set of steel bracket-toconcrete connections were to be designed, fabricated, and tested. Problems encountered
in the first set included the large amount, and thus high price of steel required for each
connection. Manufacturability problems discussed in a later section were also considered
in redesigning the connection. Consequently the second test set was approached with a
focus on manufacturability and cost.
The new emphasis on manufacturability and cost led to the idea that a rebar cage could be
formed and welded to a shorter steel bracket Figure 5.19. The rebar cage would replace
the previous tapered and bent designs. From a cost perspective forming a rebar cage
would be relatively inexpensive in comparison to the price of the steel counterpart.
With this rebar cage idea the design of the steel bracket-to-concrete connection began by
determining the rebar cage length. As was stated earlier, a length of 25 inches was
predicted to be the distance at which maximum shear and bending moment would be
simultaneously reaching during most loadings. In test set one a length of 15 inches was
chosen with cost considerations in mind; however, by using rebar it was possible to come
much closer to the calculated 25-inch length. A length of 24 inches for the rebar cage
was selected to reduce waste. Rebar was purchased in 10-foot lengths and then cut in
half to 5-foot lengths. Each 5-foot piece was then bent to form a U-shape with a diameter
of 2.5 inches with the ends evened off leaving a length of 24 inches. This length allowed
for maximum use of a 10-foot piece of rebar and nearly satisfied the initial calculated
length. A second length of 15 inches was chosen for an alternate connection design.
This length was chosen to allow for a direct comparison between the 15-inch connections
from design one.
A U-shape was chosen for all rebar brackets to increase bracket pull-out resistance. It was
also relatively simple and straightforward to manufacture. The u-shape diameter of 2.5
inches was chosen to allow for approximately 1 inch of concrete cover on the outside of
the rebar and roughly 1.25 inches of concrete cover between the main reinforcing rebar
and the brackets.
After deciding on the shape and size of the rebar cages it was decided that it would be
worthwhile to try two #4 reinforcing rebar throughout the concrete pier for one set of
connections. To mimic test set one, a concrete pier with a single #5 reinforcing rebar
would be used with a second set of connections. Thorough examination of this variation
would help to provide a clear understanding of how exactly the load moved through the
steel bracket into the rebar and concrete. Finally, 7 gauge and 10 gauge steel plate
thickness would be examined to be consistent with test set one.
31

It should be noted that along with the second set of designs, a pair of 7 gauge, 15-inch
tapered connections from test set one were fabricated. By prefabricating this design and
testing it with second set of connections a direct comparison between each test set can be
made. The 7 gauge, 15-inch tapered connection was chosen to be included in the second
set of testing over the other designs from the first set because this design had the highest
average load before failure during the first set of testing.
Table 5.5 below summarizes the experimental design for test set two in the same fashion
that was done with test set one. This table once again identifies the connection test
specimens for each steel-to-concrete connection with a four character ID. As in the first
set of tests the first character references the thickness of steel, being classified as either
W wide 7 gauge, or T thin 10-gauge steel. The second character refers to either a
long, 24-inch connection, as L or short, 13-inch connection, as S. The third character
in the ID refers to the number of rebar placed in the concrete for steel reinforcement with
a single #5 piece of rebar as S, and two #4 rebar as D. The final character in the ID
represents the concrete batch with batch 1 as 1 and batch 2 as 2. These four parts are
again combined to form the final ID of each connection design, for example; a thick-long
connection with a double rebar configuration from concrete batch 2 is noted as WLD2.
Furthermore, the concrete for the second batch of connections was poured with each
batch covering one of the two identical connections and the second batch covering the
second of the two connections. Therefore, the concrete could not be considered a
variable like it was in the first set of tests.
Table 5.5. Experimental design for steel bracket-to-concrete connection tests set two

Thick (7 gauge)

Short
Long

Thin (10 gauge)

Single

Double

Single

Double

Batch 1

WSS1

WSD1

TSS1

TSD1

Batch 2

WSS2

WSD2

TSS2

TSD2

Batch 1

WLD1

TLD1

Batch 2

WLD2

TLD2

Figures 5.19 thru Figure 5.27 show the final connection designs and dimensions for test
set two from a top, side, and isomeric view.

32

Figure 5.19. 15-inch double rebar connection isometric view

33

Figure 5.20. 15-inch double rebar connection top view

Figure 5.21. 15-inch double rebar connection side view

34

Figure 5.22. 24-inch double rebar connection isometric view

35

Figure 5.23. 24-inch double rebar connection top view Figure 5.24. 24-inch double rebar connection side view

36

Figure 5.25. 15-inch single rebar connection isometric view

37

Figure 5.26. 15-inch single rebar connection top view

38

Figure 5.27. 15-inch single rebar connection side view

The testing results from the second set of concrete connections shown below in Table 5.6 yielded
results with the concrete failing at very low loads; however, the loads witnessed were higher than
with test set one. Table 5.7 shows the max bending strength of each connection; this was obtained
by multiplying one half maximum applied load by the 19-inch distance between the joint and the
load point. Once again it is important to note that the concrete failed at such low loads and not the
connections.
Table 5.6. Max load applied to the concrete-steel connections test set two (lbs)

Thick (7 gauge)

Short
Long

Thin (10 gauge)

Single

Double

Single

Double

Batch 1

894

1193

718

1396

Batch 2

1193

1220

946

1331

Batch 1

1218

1109

Batch 2

1469

1339

Table 5.7. Max bending strength of the concrete-steel connections test set two (kip-inches)

Thick (7 gauge)

Short
Long

Thin (10 gauge)

Single

Double

Single

Double

Batch 1

17.0

22.7

13.7

26.0

Batch 2

22.7

23.2

18.0

25.3

Batch 1

23.2

21.1

Batch 2

27.9

25.5

As with test set one a 28-day compression strength test, found in Appendix C, was run
and revealed that the concrete once again possessed very little compression strength. The
strength for test set two was determined to be approximately 26 kip-inches for the single
rebar design, and 54 kip-inches for the double rebar design. This bending strength was
then compared to the actual measured bending strength to determine what percentage of
the moment was transferred. The results showing the percentage of the calculated
bending moment transferred through the connections can be seen in Table 5.8.

39

Table 5.8. Percentage of bending strength transferred in the connections for test set two

Thick (7 gauge)

Short
Long

Thin (10 gauge)

Single

Double

Single

Double

Batch 1

65.9

43.3

52.9

49.6

Batch 2

82.1

41.5

65.0

45.3

Batch 1

44.2

40.2

Batch 2

49.9

45.6

After completion of test set two it was found that all connections transferred a significant
portion of the bending moment. Unfortunately as with test set one a definite judgment on
the overall effectiveness of one connection when compared to a second could not be
made. This was due to the fact that all failures were witnessed in the concrete; therefore,
no connections failed.

5.3 Steel Bracket-to-Wood Connection Design


As stated earlier, the steel bracket-to-wood connection design involved having the steel
bracket ran in between the post plies. The next step for the steel bracket-to-wood
connection design would be how to securely fasten the bracket to the wood. Possible
variables securing the column to the bracket included bolts steel piercing screws. It was
decided to use a single fastener type being the wood-to-steel piercing screw with a _ inch
diameter and a 2 _ inch length for the entire bracket to column attachments (Figure 5.28).

Figure 5.28. Wood-to-steel piercing screw with a _ diameter and 2 _ inches length

Bolts were initially considered for use because they would provide the best way to insure
the steel bracket remained compressed between the post plies; thus, reducing buckling of
the compression edge of the plates. Although this might have proven to be a tremendous
advantage predrilled bolt holes would have added additional fabrication time. After
inserting the bracket between post plies, some way to very accurately drill a hole through
the wood and the steel bracket would need to be worked out. It was decided that because
of these logistical problems and the added cost incurred with more fabrication that using
bolts was not a feasible option. No holes would need to be predrilled and simple onsite
post construction would remain a viable option if a single type of wood-to- steel piercing
screw was used. The length of 2 _ inches was chosen for the screws length because it
gave complete penetration through the first ply, the steel plate, and still had
approximately one-half inch of penetration into the second ply.
40

5.3.1 Fastener Slip-Modulus


The purpose of running the load slip tests was to determine the fastener slip modulus and
ultimately determine the effective EI (modulus of elasticity multiplied by the moment of
inertia)of the joint region during wood testing. The slip modulus of a fastener is the ratio
of the shear load transferred by the fastener, and the slip between the two components
connected by the fastener (interlayer slip). The data collected from the load slip tests was
used to determine the slip modulus. Once the slip modulus was determined for a single
fastener it was possible to assign a slip modulus for an entire group of fasteners. Using
the group fastener slip modulus the rotational stiffness of the joint region was determined
and an effective EI was assigned to the joint region for use in modeling. These test
results allow full assessment of the stiffness in the steel-to-wood region.
The rotational stiffness of each joint was calculated after establishing a slip modulus for
the connection. Rotational stiffness is defined as being the ratio of the applied moment
M, to the rotation of the joint region _. This is shown in Figure 5.29.

Figure 5.29. The rotation (_) between the steel bracket and wood post when a bending moment is
applied to two fastener groups spaced a distance s apart (PCI, 2004).

41

Equation 5.3 was used to determine the relationship between M and _.


M/_ = k*s2/2

(5.3)

Where:
M
_
k
s

= Applied bending moment


= Joint rotation (degrees)
= Slip-modulus for a fastener or fastener group
= Spacing between fasteners or fastener groups

The applied moment M used for calculations was determined through the testing found in
Appendix B. After the slip-modulus for a single fastener was quantified the slip-modulus
for the entire fastener group was determined by multiplying the number of screws in each
connection by the slip-modulus for a single fastener. For example, if the group contained
8 screws for 7-gauge steel, the slip modulus for the group would equal 8 x 21,800 lbf/in
or 174,400 lbf/in.
5.3.2 Steel Bracket-to-Wood Fastener Designs
The particular (Tek 4) wood-to-steel piercing screw chosen did not have any design
values. In lieu of the fastener design values, the lowest of the max applied loads
determined during the load-slip tests (explained in the following section) was used. The
lowest max load of 3294 lbf was used to establish a margin of safety similar to how
LRFD establishes resistance values from the lower 5% exclusion value. In this case 83%
of the tested max loads were greater than the lowest max load. The load-slip test was
conducted using two fasteners so the load of 3294 lbf was divided by two equaling 1647
lbf as the max load per fastener.
The assumption that the applied load would be evenly distributed to each fastener was
needed to properly calculate the plate length. In figure 5.29 the little boxes represent
fastener groups. The distance between the fastener groups centroid for each design were
9.75, 9, and 7.75 inches. The calculated bending strength of the wood members was
approximately 109 kip-inches which made it possible to back calculate the load placed on
each fastener within a group. This was done by dividing the 109 kip-inches by the
distance between each fastener groups centroid. The total load on each fastener group
may be seen below in Table 5.9.
Table 5.9. Total load on each fastener group

Fastener Group Number


Distance Between Fastener
Groups (inches)
Load on Each Fastener
Group (kips)

9.75

7.75

11.18

12.11

14.06

After the total load to each fastener group was established, the number of fasteners in
each group was determined. After using the previously stated max load per fastener of
1647 lbf lead to establishing the number of fasteners in each group to be the following:
fastener groups 1, 2, and 3 having 8, 10, and 14 screws, respectively. The load per screw
was determined by dividing the load on each fastener group by the total number of
42

fasteners used. These results (shown in Table 5.10) were less than the stated max load of
1647 lbf for each fastener showing that the bending strength of the wood was completely
transferred through the steel.
Table 5.10. Load applied per screw

Number of Screws
Load per Screw (lbf)

8
1397.5

10
1211

14
1004

The eight screw configuration can be found in Figure 5.30. A total of eight screws, four
on each side of the column, were chosen to determine if the actual strength was higher
than anticipated resulting in the use of fewer screws and a save cost. The ten-screw
configuration, found in Figure 5.31, was chosen not only for less resulting load per
fastener, but to also help add rotational constraint near the top of the steel plate. Finally,
the fourteen screw configuration, found in Figure 5.32, was chosen to find the effects of
using several more screws than initial designs dictated to help compress the steel between
the wood plies in order to counteract possible steel buckling.
From the 14-inch plate length specified earlier a proper screw placement was established.
This was done by finding how close a screw could be placed to the bottom of the board.
The National Design Specifications for Wood Construction (NDS) recommends a screw
distance of 10 screw diameters from the bottom of the board to prevent the wood from
splitting. Three inches or 12 screw diameters was chosen for the placement of the screw
closest to the bottom edge of wood in order to comply with this recommendation. From
this point the patterns were spaced so that the centroid distances would match the initial
calculations. Finally, a distance of a 1/2 inch between the screw and the top of the plate
was chosen because its as close to the top as possible while still accounting for human
error during drilling.

43

Figure 5.30. Dimensions and hole pattern for screw configuration 1

Figure 5.31. Dimensions and hole pattern for screw configuration 2

44

Figure 5.32. Dimensions and hole pattern for screw configuration 3

Every time additional screws were added to the connection the dimensions of the original
screw placement would not change. This was done to ensure that each test would show
the effects of adding more screws into the configuration. An important dimension to note
is the three inches from the base of the post to the first screws. This distance was to
ensure that the wood would not split at the base of the column and compromise the
integrity of the wood. A distance of 13 _ inches was chosen for the topmost screw
because very little distance was needed for the screw penetration into the edge of steel.
Additionally, no screw aligned with a second screw in each screw configuration to ensure
that the wood column did not split.
After determining the screw configuration two other variables were considered. To stay
consistent with the concrete testing, the effect of varying the steel thickness between 7gauge and 10-gauge steel was examined. The other variable chosen was the use of a lip
or a no-lip design at the base of the steel found in Figures 5.33 and 5.34, respectively.

45

Figure 5.33. Lip design

Figure 5.34. No-Lip design

Knowing that the wood would want to rotate and deflect as load was applied, it was
determined that by placing a lip on the connection you would be able to prevent any
rotation beyond the base of the connection. For this reason, a lip and no-lip design
element was chosen as a connection variable.

46

5.3.3 Steel Bracket-to-Wood Connection Results and Discussion


The steel bracket-to wood connection testing methods are outlined in Appendix B. The
maximum applied load and maximum bending moment sustained by each connection, is
given in Tables 5.11 and 5.12, respectively. These values were obtained by multiplying
the maximum applied load by the distance between the joint and the load point (19
inches). Figures 5.35, 5.36, and 5.37 contain a plot of total applied load versus mid span
deflection for each of the 12 assembly tests. It is important to note that the displacements
given by the test data are an average of the relative displacements at the point loads and
that the relative displacements are not necessarily the same on each side.
Table 5.11. Maximum applied loads for wood connection tests (lbs)

Column # and
Screw Design
1
2
3

7 gauge
Lip
4733
5595
5803

10 gauge
No Lip
3234
3640
4252

Lip
3540
3485
3483

No Lip
3275
3036
3684

Table 5.12. Maximum bending moment for wood connection tests (kip-inches)

Column # and
Screw Design
1
2
3

7 gauge
Lip
89.9
106.3
110.3

10 gauge
No Lip
61.4
69.2
80.8

47

Lip
67.3
66.2
66.2

No Lip
62.2
57.7
70.0

5000
4500

Total Applied Load, lbf

4000
3500
WL1

3000

WN1

2500

TL1

2000

TN1

1500
1000
500
0
0

0.5

1.5

2.5

Figure 5.35. Total applied load verses midspan deflection for fastener design one

6000

Total Applied Load, lbf

5000
4000

WL2
WN2

3000

TL2
TN2

2000
1000
0
0

0.5

1.5

2.5

Figure 5.36. Total applied load verses midspan deflection for fastener design two

48

Figure 5.37. Total applied load verses midspan deflection for fastener design three

The variables and numerical results of each test are shown in Table 5.13. Load versus
slip curves from the six conducted tests are shown in Figure 5.38. At maximum load, the
average slip was 0.13 inches. Each test was stopped after one of the steel plates separated
and fell down. Observations of the insides of the assembly after the failure revealed that
100% of the screws completely sheared off. The results showed that the thicker 7-gauge
steel gave a much larger slip modulus compared to the thin 10-gauge steel. By averaging
the results from each type of steel, a slip modulus of 21800 lbf/inch and 13300 lbf/inch
can be assigned for our Tek 4 screw in 7 and 10 gauge steel, respectively.

Table 5.13. Variables and numerical results of each load-slip test

Steel
Specific
Thickness Gravity
7 Gauge

10 Gauge

0.52
0.59
0.68
0.52
0.59
0.68

Slip
(in.)

Max Load
(lbs)

0.136
0.108
0.073
0.195
0.134
0.125

3294
3874
3974
4356
3392
4490

49

Ave. Max
Load (lbs)
3714

4079

Slip
Modulus
(lbf/in.)
11084
20159
34105
9941
13237
16732

Ave Slip
Modulus
(lbf/in.)
21800

13300

Load vs Slip
5000

Load (lbs.)

4000

Test 1

3000

Test 2
Test 3
Test 4
Test 5

2000

Test 6

1000

0
0

0.05

0.1

0.15

0.2

Joint Slip (in.)

Figure 5.38. Load verses slip for the six conducted tests

The max bending moment, slip-modulus, fastener spacing, and joint rotation results for
each wood-to-steel bracket connection are shown in Table 5.14. Note that each
connection test specimen is denoted with a three character ID. The first character
references the type of steel, being classified as either W wide for 7-gauge, or T thin
for 10-gauge steel. The second character refers to either a lip design as L or no-lip
design as N. The third character refers to the screw design as 1 for design 1 with an
8-screw configuration, 2 for design 2 with a 10-screw configuration, and 3 for design
3 with a 14-screw configuration. These three parts are combined to form the final ID of
each connection design for example; a thick, lip design with an 8-screw configuration
(design 1) is noted as WL1.

50

Table 5.14. Results determining the joint rotation for each wood-to-steel connection

Connection
Design
WL1
WN1
TL1
TN1
WL2
WN2
TL2
TN2
WL3
WN3
TL3
TN3

Max Bending
Moment
(kip-in.)
89.9
61.4
67.3
62.2
106.3
69.2
66.2
57.7
110.3
80.8
66.2
70.0

Slip
Modulus
(lbf/in.)
21800
21800
13300
13300
21800
21800
13300
13300
21800
21800
13300
13300

Fastener
Spacing
(in.)
10
10
10
10
9.33
9.33
9.33
9.33
7.875
7.875
7.875
7.875

Joint
Rotation
(degrees)
12.1
17.8
9.9
10.7
8.9
13.7
8.7
10.0
6.1
8.4
6.2
5.9

Several different failures were observed during these tests. A buckling failure found in
Figure 5.39, was witnessed in all designs using 10-gauge steel. The buckling calculations
described earlier indicated that the buckling failure should occur at a bending moment
around 48 kip-inches and 115 kip-inches for 10-gauge and 7-gauge steel, respectively.
The actual max bending moments observed from testing are shown back in Table 5.12.
The average max bending moments incurred during testing were approximately 65 kipinches and 86 kip-inches for the 10-gauge and 7-gauge steel, respectively. A buckling
failure (Figure 5.39) was typical of all designs using 10-gauge steel. It is reasonable to
assume that the average max bending moment of 65 kip-inches for the 10-gauge steel was
higher than the calculated 48 kip-inches due to compression forces being placed on the
plates while in between the boards resulting in additional buckling resistance.

Figure 5.39. A buckling failure typical of all designs using 10-gauge steel

51

The average max bending moment of 86 kip-inches for the 7-gauge steel was lower than
the calculated 115 kip-inches. The lower max bending moments were due to a shear
failure of the screws before steel buckling could occur. This type of failure (Figure 5.40)
was witnessed in most designs using the 7-gauge steel. To be more specific, all
connections using the 7-gauge steel, except design 3 (14-screw configuration), sheared
the screws at the top of the connection. The shearing of the screws happened at a max
applied load between 3200 and 4250 lbs. It should be noted that design 3 (14-screw
configuration) resulted in a buckling failure for the 7-gauge steel, only this failure
happened at a higher bending moment of 110 kip-inches which was close to the
calculated value of 115 kip-inches. Since the buckling failure consistently occurred
around the same load regardless of the amount of screws neither the screw configuration
nor the amount of screws affected the compression strength.

Figure 5.40. A shear failure that was typical of all designs using 7-gauge steel except for design 3 (14screw configuration).

This shear failure witnessed for designs 1 and 2 in the 7-gauge steel was not anticipated
at the loads witnessed. It was expected at a higher load from what the results of the loadslip tests in Table 5.13 reported. The load-slip test suggested that a single set of screws,
that being one screw on each side, would fail in shear between 3200 and 4500 lbs. The
fact that this type of failure was witnessed at similar loads for connections using multiple
sets of screws suggests that during testing a single set of screws may have absorbed the
majority of the load and caused a failure.
Finally, a difference was also noted in the load capacity of the lip versus no-lip designs
(Table 5.12). The connections with a lip design held significantly more load than the nolip design. This can be attributed to the fact that as the load was applied to the
connection the wood became flush with the lip resulting in load being transferred to the
connection. As load was transferred to the connection via the lip, a lower load was
experienced in the fasteners. Thus, a higher load was handled by the connections with a
lip. Other differences noticed with the lip and no-lip designs regarded the rotation of the
joint region. Table 5.14 showed that lip designs were allowed to rotate an average of 8.7
degrees while the no-lip designs rotated an average of 11.1 degrees. This showed that the
lipped design element did indeed affect the connection by resisting joint rotation.

52

6. Manufacturability
Manufacturability is directly related to the cost, and hence overall feasibility of the
connection.
During construction it is desirable to limit the number of different machines, as this
reduces initial capital investment in production and can result in more efficient
production. The Scotchman 6509-24M iron worker shown in Figure 6.1 was used for all
steel plate/sheet work which included shearing, punching, and bending. The ironworker
also had attached scales and braces to ensure exact placement of the steel, allowing all
work to be replicated accurately. Other equipment used included a plasma torch, wire
feed welder, belt grinder, table saw, and rebar bender.

Figure 6.1. Scotchman 6509-24M used for ironworking (Scotchman, 2006)

Throughout construction of the first series test specimens iron worker performed quite
well for punching the appropriate holes and shearing the initial rectangular pieces.
However, after the initial rectangular pieces had been constructed the iron worker did not
have the ability to bend and shear the connection designs to the level of detail we needed.
Finishing the first set of connections required special design templates to be constructed
53

to correctly shear the taper in the steel plates. These templates were made to ensure
identical cuts in the faceplates were made every time. This additional equipment severely
affected the total time spent in construction for the first set of connections and brought a
level of complexity not initially anticipated.
As mentioned earlier, the production of the first series of test specimens resulted in the
realization for specialized equipment and a reduction in production time. A more
simplistic approach to manufacturing was taken and the rebar cage approach was
developed. By using rebar in the second series of test specimens the need for complex
bending or shearing was eliminated. During the production of the second series of test
specimens it was found that bending the rebar to the appropriate U-shape found in Figure
6.2 was very easy, quick, and accurate when compared to the bending and shearing of the
steel plates done to manufacture the first set of connections.

Figure 6.2. Rebar bracket

Both sets of connections required the construction of a faceplate used to join the steel
plates and form the steel bracket. The production of faceplates turned out to be a
cumbersome part of production. This design aspect was unavoidable because the
faceplate needed to be a single unit in order to properly act as the joining agent for each
of the steel plates.
Overall, the test set two rebar design had a much higher level of manufacturability than
test set one. The rebar design required fewer steps from the beginning to end along with
less time needed for manufacturing.

54

7. Economic Analysis
The cost analysis of this project took a look at simply the material cost associated with
constructing the final connection design. Labor and manufacturing costs were not
analyzed due to the lack of substantial data. It was also important to note that all costs
listed were not wholesale and would be reduced if the connection were to be
manufactured on a large scale basis.
The main material associated with construction of this connection was steel. For the final
connection it was decided that 7-gauge steel would be used. The final connection design
used a total of 176 in2 (16in x 5.5in x 2 plates) which was translated to 4.583 lbs after
using a conversion factor of .0521 lbs/in2. After multiplying the weight of the connection
by the price of steel per pound, $0.50418 per lb, a total steel cost of $4.623 $ per
connection was established. This cost was then added to that of the rebar. The rebar cost
was found by multiplying the total 124-inch length of rebar (54 in x 2 brackets + 4 in x 4
crossbars) by the $0.0289 per inch cost for the rebar establishing a total cost of $3.585
per connection. Summing the cost of steel and rebar gave a total cost of $8.209 per
connection in material costs.
Aside from material costs the expense of coating the connection needed to be examined.
Although galvanization was not required because the wood did not need to be treated; it
was still a good idea to consider coating the connection to resist rusting from possible
moisture conditions the connection may encounter while in use. After consulting local
galvanizing shops the typical cost for galvanizing an object based on the weight of the
object generally ran about $0.35 per lb. With a connection weight of 4.583 lbs an
estimated cost of $1.60 needed to be added to the total connection cost.
After combining both material costs and the cost of a galvanized coating a total cost of
$9.90 per connection was assigned to the final connection design.

55

8. Final Design
A final connection design was assembled using the information gathered from the three
sets of tests and calculations. Since no concrete-to-steel connections experienced failure
it was not possible to accurately determine which connection design would provide the
best results. That being said, most likely the most efficient design would be the 24-inch
double rebar design. The rebar design was chosen over the steel to help reduce cost as
rebar is a lot less expensive than steel. The 24-inch bracket would also allow for
maximum moment transfer to the concrete because of the length of the rebar, while still
allowing for continuity throughout the concrete. Seven gauge steel would also be used to
form the plates because the thicker steel was necessary to prevent a buckling failure. The
final connection also includes the lip design element explored in testing. Use of the lip
design would help to increase the rotational stiffness of the connection. The fastener
configuration of the final design comprises of a single 1/2" bolt placed at the top and
bottom of the steel bracket. On top of the bolts 4 steel piercing screws, (two on each
side) should be used at the top of the connection. The final fastener configuration
included bolts because testing showed that the steel would buckle at an unacceptably low
load regardless of the type of steel used. By using a 1/2" bolt at the top and base of the
connection the steel would have additional compression forces and better resist a
buckling failure that the screws and column plies could not. Screws are used at the top of
the connection to reduce stress concentrations around the bolt. As the screws help absorb
load and stress they are ultimately helping to keep the wood from splitting along the bolt
line. No screws are used at the base of the connection since the lip at base of the
connection would help absorb load that the bottom bolt would have otherwise been
forced to take. It is important to note that because the final design incorporates a bolt, a
1/2" steel piercing drill bit would be needed. By using a drill bit, the bolt holes can be
placed in the wood and steel at the same time ensuring proper alignment. These design
elements discussed will be put together to form the final connection design. The final
design and dimensions can be seen in Figures 8.1, 8.2, and 8.3.

56

Figure 8.1. Side view dimensions of the final design

57

Figure 8.2. Top view dimensions of final design

58

Figure 8.3. Final Connection Design

59

After completing design, fabrication, and testing it is important to reassess the original
design specifications and make a determination as far as achievement of original
objectives. The following section restates each design specification and discusses the
achievement or shortcoming of each initial goal.
1. The design bending strength of the connection should be at least 100% of the design
bending strength of the components it connects (i.e., the wood columns and the
concrete pier/slab). The wood-to-steel connection testing resulted in either a buckling
failure or shear failure of the screws; therefore, not allowing us to completely
evaluate the actual bending strength of the steel connection. To better assess the
actual bending strength of the wood-to-steel connection a better fastener pattern must
be designed to prevent buckling or fastener shearing. The concrete-to-steel
connection testing resulted in a bending failure of the concrete at the end of the steel
embedded in the concrete; thus, indicating that our connections bending strength was
higher than that of the concrete pier.
2. The average bending stiffness of the connection region should be at least 75% of that
for the mechanically laminated column. Analysis of the connection joint region
shows that for the fasteners used a stiffness of at least 100 % was determined for the
connections using 7-gauge steel meeting our specification, however the connection
using 10-gauge steel had an average stiffness of about 65% that of the wood used
falling short of the required stiffness.
3. The size of the connection region cannot exceed the width and depth of the
mechanically-laminated column. All designs constructed used a 5.5 x 4.5 inch
faceplate which served to set the dimensions and keep the total connection and
concrete column width equal to that of the mechanically-laminated columns.
4. The connector shall be designed for use with mechanically-laminated column
consisting of three nominal 2- by 6-inch No.1 Southern Yellow Pine wood layers.
Only 2- by 6-inch No.1 Southern Yellow Pine three-ply columns were considered in
design and all connections used in testing conform to this design specification.
5. Under normal expected conditions, the connection shall have a minimum design life
of 50 years. All components used that may come into contact with the ground and or
moist conditions are comprised of concrete and steel. While the steel connections
will need to be galvanized to ensure a longer life, all materials used have a normal life
that far exceeds the 50 year design specification.
6. The design of the bracket-to-wood connection shall conform to the NDS for Wood
Construction (AF&PA, 2005) and all wood-related design strength and stiffness
properties shall be calculated in accordance with NDS for Wood Construction
(AF&PA, 2005) when/where applicable. Wood-related design strength and stiffness
properties conforming to this specification can be found in Appendix B.

60

7. The design of reinforced concrete components shall conform to all requirements of


ACI 318, and reinforced concrete design strength and stiffness properties shall be
determined in accordance with ACI 318 when/where applicable. Concrete-related
design strength and stiffness properties conforming to this specification can be found
in Appendix A.
8. Where applicable, the design strength and stiffness of steel components shall be
determined in accordance with AISC. With such intricate internal interactions
between the steel embedded into the concrete, design values must be solely
determined from laboratory tests and not from specific equations outlined in
accordance with AISC (PCI, 2004). Therefore, the rotational stiffness of the steel
components was determined from slip tests in accordance with ASTM 1761.
9. The design shall ensure code-conforming wood column-to-bracket connections can
be made at the job-site. For quality assurance purposes it would be recommended to
pre-manufacture the post. That being said, the steel connection has been fabricated so
that it is possible for the composite post to be constructed on site. However, for
onsite construction a concrete form would be needed to ensure proper column size
and allow for rebar placement.
10. The total final connection and column design cost shall not exceed that for the USP
PA66E cost of $10.49, or that for the Simpson PB66 cost of $11.49.The total cost of
each connection was determined to be $9.90. This total materials cost meets the
design specification.

61

9. Summary
The vast majority of agricultural structures are post-frame buildings. The posts in the
majority of these buildings are embedded in the ground where they are a main element of
the buildings foundation. To minimize decay, embedded wood posts must be treated
with some type of wood preservative. However, the use of preservative-treated wood is
somewhat problematic, and raises environmental concerns when the chemicals used to
treat the wood columns leaches into the ground. On top of the chemical leaching issues,
disposal of the columns after the useful life of the building is a concern; because of this it
is advantageous to use something other than the standard embedded wood post. One
such alternative is to replace the embedded portion of a wood post (i.e., the portion that
typically needs to be preservative-treated) with a concrete pier. The goal of this research
project was to develop the connection needed to adequately attach a concrete pier to a
wood post. More specifically, the goal was to design a connection that would have a
bending strength and stiffness near that of the components it was connecting.
The approach to this project involved breaking the connection into three main elements:
(1) a steel bracket portion, (2) a steel bracket-to-concrete pier connection, and (3) a steel
bracket-to-wood post connection. After the designing and constructing several types of
connections, tests produced mixed results. All failures observed for the first and second
round of steel bracket to concrete testing were concrete failures at the end of the
connection region. This was a desirable result at it showed that it was the concrete that
failed and not the connection however, the concrete failures all occurred at a much lower
load than anticipated which made it impossible to make definite distinctions between
connection designs. The wood-to-steel portion of testing revealed that use of a lip to
restrain the wood plies increased the rotational stiffness of the beam. This increased
stiffness keeps the beam from rotating large amounts adding to the usefulness of the
connection, but more importantly it allows the connection to withstand higher load
Using the test results the final design proposal was developed for the attachment of a 3layer, mechanically laminated post fabricated from nominal 2-by 6-inch lumber to a 4.5by 5.5-inch concrete pier. The final proposed design consists of two 14-inch long by 5.5inch wide plates that are 0.1875 inches thick. These plates are sandwiched between the
lumber plies, and held in place with two _ bolts and four _ by 2 _ steel piercing
screws. The plates extend 2 inches into the concrete pier. Two rebars, each with a 180
degree bend, and a formed length of 24 inches are welded to the steel plates. The two
180-degree rebars are joined by transverse rebar welded on to form a location for the
longitudinal rebar that will be used as reinforcement in the concrete pier. Use of this
connection should help to eliminate the problems created by using chemically treated
posts while still maintaining post frame buildings simplicity and structural efficiency.

62

Appendix A: Calculated Strengths


A.1 Concrete
A.1.1 Bending Strength
Before connection design and construction could begin, the bending and shear strength
of the concrete members needed to be known. This was needed to determine the
appropriate type of steel and the correct dimensions that can be used in the steel bracket
design. The expected bending strength of a singly reinforced concrete beam was
calculated using Equation A.1. This calculation was run four times, looking at the effect
of using different sized reinforcing rebar. The number 3, 4, 5, and 6 rebar were examined
for possible use. All bending strength equations and methods were in accordance with
ACI 318-05 (Nawy, 2005).
Where:

Mn = (_1*fc'*b*a*(d-a/2))

(A.1)

_1 = 0.85

Note: _1 = 0.85 for fc' less than or equal to 4,000 psi, 0.65 for fc'
greater than or equal to 8,000 psi, and a linear interpolation is
needed to obtain _1 between 4,000 and 8,000 psi
fc' = Normal Concrete Compression Strength
= 4 ksi
b = Overall Concrete Width
= 4.5 inches
a = depth of equivalent rectangular stress block
= (As'*fy)/( _1*fc'*b)
As' = Area of steel rebar
= 0.11 in2 (#3 rebar)
= 0.22 in2 (#4 rebar)
= 0.31 in2 (#5 rebar)
= 0.44 in2 (#6 rebar)
fy = Yield Stress of Steel
= 60 ksi
d = Depth of Steel
= 2.75 inches
The bending strength in kip-inches of a concrete member with each type of steel rebar
can be seen in Table A.1
Table A.1. Calculated bending strength of concrete with a single rebar configuration (kip-inches)

Calculated
Bending Moment

No. 3 Rebar

No. 4 Rebar

No. 5 Rebar

No. 6 Rebar

16.73

28.29

39.84

49.82

63

The bending strength for a doubly rebar reinforced configuration is calculated using
Equation A.2
Mn

= Cc*(h/2-a/2)+Cs*(h/2-d')+Ts*(d-h/2)

Cc

= Concrete Compression Strength


= _1*fc'*b*a
= height
= 5.5 inches
= Compression Steel Compression Strength
= As'*fy
= distance to bottom steel
= 4 inches
= distance to top steel
= 1.5 inches
= Tension Steel Compression Strength
= As*fy

(A.2)

Where:

h
Cs
d
d'
Ts

The final bending strength in kip-inches of a concrete member with two number four
steel rebar was calculated to be 48.88 kip-inches.
A.1.2 Shear Strength
The nominal concrete shear strength, Vn, equals the concrete shear strength, Vc, and the
shear reinforcement shear strength, Vs, forming the equation Vn= Vc+Vs. No shear
reinforcement was placed in the concrete piers resulting in Vn= Vc. Note that the
concrete pier depth is 5.5 inches equaling an overall depth less than 10 inches; therefore,
according to ACI 318 Section 11.5.5.1 Vn= Vc and does not have to be reduced to Vn=
Vc/2. The approximate shear strength of each concrete pier when subjected to shear and
flexure only can be calculated using equation A.3. All shear strength equations and
methods used are in accordance to ACI 318-05. (Nawy, 2005), (PCI, 2004)

64

Vc

= _*2*(fc')1/2*b*d

= 1.0

(A.3)

Where:

fc'
b
d

Note: _ = 1.0 is factor dependent on the type of concrete, 1.0 for


normal-weight concrete, 0.85 for sand-lightweight concrete, and
0.75 for all lightweight concrete.
= Normal Concrete Compression Strength
= 4 ksi
= Overall Concrete Width
= 4.5 inches
= Overall Concrete Depth
= 5.5 inches

The calculated design shear strength for both concrete pier designs equals 1.57 kips
because there is no shear reinforcement and no change in dimensions resulting in the
shear strength based solely on concrete compression strength.

65

A.2 Wood
A.2.1 Bending Strength
Before construction and testing the approximate bending and shear strength of the wood
members needed to be known in order to choose the appropriate type of steel and the
correct dimensions. In accordance to NDS 2005, the expected bending strength for wood
is calculated using the following Equation A.4
M = F b * S
(A.4)
Where:
Fb' = Fb CM Ct CLCF Cfu Ci Cr Kf !b "
Fb = Bending Strength of #1 Southern Pine
= 1.65 kips
CM = Wet Service Factor
Ct = Temperature Factor
CL = Beam Stability Factor
CF = Size Factor
Cfu = Flat Use Factor
Ci = Incising Factor
Cr = Load Sharing Factor due to the use of three 2x6 wood members
=1.35
Cc = Curvature Factor
All values used unless otherwise noted can be taken as 1.
Kf = Format conversion Factor
= 2.16/ !
!b = Resistance Factor
= 0.85
" = Time Effect Factor
=1
S = Section Modulus
= 22.69 in3
Thus the final bending strength of an average 3 ply 2x6 wood member is calculated to be
109.17 kip-inches.

66

A.2.2 Shear Strength


The approximate shear strength of each wood column can be calculated using Equation
A.5
Vu = Fv' *A / 1.5

(A.5)

Where:
l = Time Effect Factor
Fv = Resistance Factor for Shear
Fv' = Fv CM Ct Ci Kf !v "
Fv = Shear Strength Parallel to Grain
= 0.175 kips
CM = Wet Service Factor
Ct = Temperature Factor
Ci = Incising Factor
All values used unless otherwise noted can be taken as 1.
Kf = Format conversion Factor
= 2.16/ !
!bv = Resistance Factor
= 0.75
" = Time Effect Factor
=1
A = Area = Width * Depth
Width = 4.5 in
Depth = 5.5 in
= 24.75 in2
Using Equation A.5 the final shear strength of an average 3 ply 2x6 wood member is
calculated to be 6.24 kips.

67

Appendix B: Test Methods and Equipment


B.1 Steel Bracket-to-Concrete Tests
Two sets of concrete tests were conducted to examine the performance of several
different steel bracket-to-concrete connections. Both of these sets of tests had one similar
goal in mind, to determine the bending moment versus rotation relationships for the
connections. Test set one examined the relative strength of (1) brackets using bend or
taper design for the edge of the steel embedded in the concrete (2) brackets of either a 10gauge or 7-gauge steel thickness (3) brackets with an embedment length into the concrete
of 10 or 15 inches. Test set two was conducted to examine the relative strength of
connections with a rebar cage configuration using (1) varying embedment lengths of 15
and 24 inches (2) 10-gauge or 7-gauge steel bracket thickness, (3) single or double
concrete reinforcing rebar design. All the brackets were designed so that two identical
plates could be welded to the base forming a single bracket, and adequate concrete cover
of the steel is provided on all sides.
Concrete-to-steel connection tests were performed 14 days after initial pouring instead of
the normal 28-day time span specified by (ASTM C39) due to time constraints. The
concrete-to-steel connections were loaded in bending to determine the flexural strength of
each steel bracket-to-concrete column connection. The 1/3-point loading arrangement
used is shown in figure B.1. The interface between the concrete and steel bracket located
at the center of the two loads so it located in the constant moment region that is created.

Figure B.1. Two point loading set-up for testing connections bending strength

68

Figure B.2. Tinius Olson Universal Compression-Tension Testing Machine

The Tinius Olson Universal Compression-Tension Testing Machine shown in Figure B.2
was used for testing. The load head rate was fixed at 0.2 inches per minute to produce a
failure between 5 and 10 minutes after initial loading in accordance with ASTM
standards. A Campbell Scientific CR23X data logger was used to record applied load,
load-head movement, and displacements at _-second intervals.
To isolate the failure to the concrete portion of beam a 5-foot steel tube that can be seen
in Figure B.3 was attached to the connection where the wood member would normally be
placed. Four 1-inch bolts were used to connect the steel tubing to the steel brackets with
outer plates bolted to the outside of the steel bracket connection to prevent buckling.
Figure B.4 shows the four 1-inch bolts used to join the connection to the steel tubing.

69

Figure B.3. Steel tubing used for testing

Figure B. 4. Bolts attaching steel connection to steel tube

B.2 Steel Bracket-to-Wood Tests


A series of tests were conducted to examine the performance of different steel-bracket to
wood connections. These tests were conducted to determine the relative strength of
connections using lipped and non-lipped designs and brackets consisting of 10-gauge or
7- gauge steel. There was also a desire to determine the relative strengths of connections
using differing numbers (8,10,14) of _ -by 2 _-inch steel piercing screws.

70

Twelve wood-to-steel connections were loaded in bending to determine the flexural


strength of each steel bracket-to-concrete column connection. The 1/3-point loading
arrangement shown earlier in Figure B.1 for concrete testing was also used for wood
testing. The interface between the wood and steel bracket is once again located at the
center of the two loads so it located in the constant moment region that is created.
The Tinius Olson Universal Compression-Tension Testing Machine shown in Figure B.2
was used for testing. The load head rate was fixed at 0.4 inches per minute. A Campbell
Scientific CR23X data logger was used to record applied load, load-head movement, and
displacements at _-second intervals. The same 5-foot steel tube that can be seen in
Figure B.3 was used to isolate the failure to wood section. The tubing was again attached
to the connection with four 1-inch bolts to connect the steel tubing to the connection with
outer plates bolted to the outside of the steel connection to prevent buckling.

B.3 Load-Slip Tests


The load-slip methods for testing were done similar to (Bohnhoff, 2002b) and in
accordance to ASTM E 290-97a. Six wood-to-steel load-slip tests were assembled from
three 5-foot No. 2 SPF 2x6 members. The three different lumber specific gravity values
were 0.52, 0.59, and 0.68, respectively (based on weight and volume at a moisture
content of approximately 10%). Each test had a total of two screws and had a layout
similar to that of the wood to steel connection that was used in our wood column to steel
tests. The two variables in this test were the wood specific gravity and the thickness in
the steel. Two thicknesses of steel, 7-gauge and 10-gauge were used with each specific
gravity value lumber.
LVDTs located on each end of the connection were used to measure the displacement
between the top (non-stressed part of the wood) of the outside plies and the bottom of the
steel connection (or unstressed portion of the steel connection) as seen in Figure B.5.
The load was applied parallel-to-grain at a rate of 0.1 inches/minute. Displacements and
applied loads were recorded at 1-second intervals

71

Figure B.5. Load-slip test set up for determining fastener slip modulus

72

Appendix C: Measured Test Results

C.1 Concrete Compression Strength


The compression strength of the 6-by 12-in. (152x305 mm) standard cylindrical test
specimen was tested 28 days after the initial pour in accordance with ASTM C 39, made
and cured in accordance with ASTM C 192, and capped in accordance to ASTM C 61798. The compression strength can be seen in Tables C.1 & C.2.
Table C.1. Set 1 concrete cylinder compression strengths after 28 days (psi)

Concrete Cylinder #
Batch 1
Batch 2

Compression Strength
2328
2231
2069
2014

Average
2280
2042

Table C.2. Set 2 concrete cylinder compression strengths after 28 days (psi)

Concrete Cylinder #
Batch 1
Batch 2

Compression Strength
2076
1969
2066
2312

Average
2022
2189

The cylinders were tested after 28 days while our concrete pier bending tests were
conducted after 14 days; therefore, an equation is needed to quantitatively estimate the
compression strength of the concrete after 14 days. Equation C.1 specified by the ACI
209 Committee in the 2005 version of the ACI Manual of Concrete Practice estimating
the compression strength at any given time.
(fc')t =

t
( f c ' ) 28
a + !t

(C.1)

Where:
a
#
t
(fc)28

= constant
= 4.0
= constant
= 0.85
= age in days of concrete
= 28-day compression strength of concrete

73

Using the appropriate constants for the type of curing (moist or steam curing) in our case
moist and the type of cement used (Type I or Type III) in our case Type I, thus Equation
C.2 is developed:
&
#
t
(fc')t = f c ' (28) $
!
% (4 + 0.85t ) "

(C.2)

The resulting 14-day compression strengths using Equation C.2 are shown in Tables C.3
& C.4.
Table C.3. Set 1 concrete cylinder compression strengths estimation after 14 days (psi)

Concrete Cylinder #
Batch 1
Batch 2

Compression Strength
2050
1964
1822
1773

Average
2007
1798

Table C.4. Set 2 Concrete cylinder compression strengths estimation after 14 days (psi)

Concrete Cylinder #
Batch 1
Batch 2

Compression Strength
1828
1733
1819
2036

Average
1780
1920

The actual concrete bending strength using the resulting 14-day compression strength
estimation for test set one is shown in Table C.5 and the test set two estimation for single
and double rebar configurations are shown in Tables C.6 and C.7, respectively.
Table C.5. Set one bending strengths using 14-day compression strengths (kip-inches)

Concrete Cylinder #
Batch 1
Batch 2

Bending Strength
29.1
28.1
26.3
25.6

74

Average
28.6
25.95

Table C.6. Bending strengths using 14-day compression strengths for single rebar (kip-inches)

Concrete Cylinder #
Batch 1
Batch 2

Bending Strength
26.4
25.1
26.3
28.9

Average
25.8
27.6

Table C.7- Bending strengths using 14-day compression strengths for double rebar (kip-inches)

Concrete Cylinder #
Batch 1
Batch 2

Bending Strength
53.6
51.1
53.4
58.4

75

Average
52.4
55.9

References
ACI 2005a. ACI 318-05: Building code requirements for structural concrete and
commentary. American Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills, MI.
ACI 2005b. ACI Manual for concrete practice. American Concrete Institute, Farmington
Hills, MI.
ASAE Standards. 48nd ed. 2001. EP559. Design requirements and bending properties for
mechanically laminated columns. St. Joseph, MI.: ASAE.
ASTM. 2004. C 39/C39M-01. Standard test method for compression strength of
cylindrical concrete specimens. Annual Book of ASTM Standards. Vol 04.02.
ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA.
ASTM. 2004. C 192/C192M-00. Standard practice for making and curing concrete test
specimens in the laboratory. Annual Book of ASTM Standards. Vol 04.02. ASTM
International, West Conshohocken, PA
ASTM. 2004. C 617-98. Standard practice for capping cylindrical concrete specimens.
Annual Book of ASTM Standards. Vol 04.02. ASTM International, West
Conshohocken, PA.
ASTM. 2005. E 290-97a. Standard test methods for bend testing of materials for
ductility. Annual Book of ASTM Standards. Vol 03.01. ASTM International, West
Conshohocken, PA.
ASTM. 2005. D 1761. Standard test methods for mechanical fasteners in wood. Annual
Book of ASTM Standards. Vol 04.01. ASTM International, West Conshohocken,
PA.
AWC. 2003. Designing for Lateral-Torsional Stability in wood members. Technical
Report 14. American Wood Council and American Forest & Paper Association.
Washington, D.C.
Burkholder, M. 2004. CCA, NFBA, and the post-frame building industry. Frame
Building News 6-12.
Bohnhoff, D. R. and Boor, P. A. 2002a. UW & LBS Full-Scale Metal-Clad Wood-Frame
Diaphragm Study. Report 1: Project Introduction and Building Design Details.
Presented at the 2002 ASAE Annual International Meeting, Chicago, Illinois.
ASAE Paper No. 024007. ASAE. St. Joseph, Michigan.
Bohnhoff, D. R. and Gadani, M. 2002b. Effect of Mechanically-Attached Face Plates on
Strong Axis Bending of Posts. Presented at the 2002 ASAE Annual International
Meeting, Chicago, Illinois. ASAE Paper No. 024003. ASAE. St. Joseph,
Michigan.
Bohnhoff, D. R. 2003 Post Foundation Design Considerations. Proceedings from
Building Freestall Barns and Milking Centers: Methods and Materials A
Conference for Builders, Dairy Producers, and Their Advisors. 206-224. Camp
Hill, Pennsylvania.
Boor, P. 2005. Personal Communication. 22 September.
Brekke, S. 2006. Personal Communication. 3 January.

76

Forest Products Laboratory. 1999. Wood handbook--Wood as an engineering material.


Gen. Tech. Rep. FPL-GTR-113. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture,
Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory.
Ibach, R. E. 1999. Chapter 14: Wood handbook : wood as an engineering material. In
Wood Preservation, 14-2. ed. Forest Products Society, Madison, WI: Forest
Products Society.
Kelly, D. 2006. Personal Communication. 15 January.
Knight, J. T. 1989. A brief look back. Frame Building Professional; 1(1): 38-43.
Knight, J. T. 2004. NFBA advocates for CCA use. Frame Building News 4-8.
Kotwitz, M. 2005. Personal communication. 19 September.
Lebow, S. 2004. Alternatives to Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) for Residential
Construction. In Environmental Impacts of Preservative-Treated Wood
Conference, 1-13. Madison, WI: USDA Forest Products Laboratory.
McQueen, J. and J. Stevens. 1998. Disposal of CCA-treated wood. Forest Products
Journal 48(11/12): 86.
Nawy, E. G. 2005. Reinforced Concrete: A Fundamental Approach, ACI 2005 Update
Edition. 5th Edition. Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.
NFBA. 1999. Post-Frame Building Design Manual. National Frame Builders
Association, Lawrence, KS
PCI. 2004. Engineering Design Manual for Series 6300, 6400, 8300, 8400 PermaColumns. Perma-Column Corperation. Available at:
http://www.permacolumn,com/manuals/Design_Manual_10-14-04BU.pdf.
Accessed 10/5/2005.
PCI. 2005a. Perma-Column Pictures Online. Ossian, IN.: Perma-Column Inc. Available
at: http://www.permacolumn.com. Accessed 4 October 2005
PCI 2005b. Perma-Column Design & Use Guide for PC6300, PC6400, PC8300, PC8400
Models. Perma-Column Corporation. Available at:
http://www.permacolumn.com/manuals/Design%20and%20Use%20Guide%2011
-2-05.pdf
Accessed 12/18/2005.
Ryan, L. 2005. Personal communication. 30 September.
Schultz, A. C. and T. M. Biksey. 2003. Arsenic speciation and its effect on soil cleanup
standards. Environmental Claims Journal 15(1): 107-118.
Scotchman. 2006. Scotchman Ironworker 6509-24M. Scotchman Industries.
Available at: http://www.scotchman.com/specs.php?index=5. Accessed 1/23/06.
Sloniker, M. 2005. Personal Communication. 16 September.
Simpson Strong-Tie. 2006. High Wind-Resistant Construction Catalog. Simpson
Strong-Tie. Available at: http://strongtie.com/literature/c-hw05-r.html
Accessed 1/23/2006.
Taylor J.L. 2003. Leaching of CCA from Lumber Exposed to Natural Rain Above
ground. Forest Products Journal Sept.

77

Townsend, T. G., Solo-Gabriele, H., Tolaymat T., and Stook K., Impact of
chromated copper arsenate (CCA) in wood mulch. The Science of the Total
Environment. 309: 173-185.
Universal Forest Products, 2006. Personal Communication. 3 January.
USP. 2006. USP Anchor to Connector Guide 2005. United Steel Products Company.
Available at: http://www.uspconnectors.com/pdfs/2005acguide.pdf
Accessed 1/23/2006.
Walker, J. and F. Woeste. 1992. Post-Frame Building Design. 1st ed. St. Joseph, MI:
American Society of Agricultural Engineers.
Woods Run Forest Products. 2006. Personal Communication. 3 January.
2005 National Design Specification for Wood Construction. 2005 American Wood
Council and American Forest & Paper Association

78

INDEX
List of Figures

Page #

Figure 1.1.
Figure 1.2.
Figure 1.3.

Example of a post-frame building..


Perma-Columns in use (PCI, 2005a)..
Cast-in-place concrete piers used in a post-frame building for diaphragm action studies,
Located in Lester Prairie, MN (Bohnhoff, 2002a).
Figure 1.4. Concrete column formingtube
Figure 1.5. Treatment penetration comparison of a solid-sawn post vs. a mechanically laminated column
Figure 1.6. Cost comparison (dollars per board foot vs. board length) of non-treated vs. treated 2x6
lumber based on prices fromTable1.2.
Figure 1.7. Cost comparison (dollars per board foot vs. board length) of non-treated vs. treated 2x8
lumber based on prices from Table 1.2
Figure 1.8. U-bracket (Bohnhoff, 2002a)..
Figure 1.9. L-bracket.
Figure 1.10. USP PA66E concrete-to-post connection (USP, 2006)..
Figure 1.11. Simpson PB66 concrete-to-post connection (Simpson, 2006)
Figure 1.12. Bending moment to rotation comparison (PCI, 2004)
Figure 5.1. Perma-Columns in use (PCI, 2005a)...
Figure 5.2. A typical Perma-column post failure..
Figure 5.3. Example connection design.
Figure 5.4. 10-inch bend connection isometric view.....
Figure 5.5. 10-inch bend connection top view
Figure 5.6. 10-inch bend connection side view..
Figure 5.7. 10-inch taper connection isometric view ....
Figure 5.8. 10-inch taper connection top view ..
Figure 5.9. 10-inch taper connection side view..
Figure 5.10. 15-inch bend connection isometric view .
Figure 5.11. 15-inch bend connection top view ..
Figure 5.12. 15-inch bend connection side view .
Figure 5.13. 15-inch taper connection isometric view
Figure 5.14. 15-inch taper connection top view ..
Figure 5.15. 15-inch taper connection side view..
Figure 5.16. End view of the tapered connection.
Figure 5.17. End view of the bend connection.
Figure 5.18. A typical failure observed during concrete testing.
Figure 5.19. 15-inch double rebar connection isometric view ..
Figure 5.20. 15-inch double rebar connection top view .
Figure 5.21. 15-inch double rebar connection side view
Figure 5.22. 24-inch double rebar connection isometric view
Figure 5.23. 24-inch double rebar connection top view ..
Figure 5.24. 24-inch double rebar connection side view..
Figure 5.25. 15-inch single rebar connection isometric view ..
Figure 5.26. 15-inch single rebar connection top view ....
Figure 5.27. 15-inch single rebar connection side view ..
Figure 5.28. Wood-to-steel piercing screw with a _ diameter and 2 _ inches length.....
Figure 5.29. The rotation (_) between the steel bracket and wood post when a bending moment is
applied to two fastener groups spaced a distance s apart (PCI, 2004)
Figure 5.30. Dimensions and hole pattern for screw configuration 1
Figure 5.31. Dimensions and hole pattern for screw configuration 2...
Figure 5.32. Dimensions and hole pattern for screw configuration 3
Figure 5.33. Lip design..
Figure 5.34. No-Lip design....
Figure 5.35. Total applied load verses midspan deflection for fastener design one..
Figure 5.36. Total applied load verses midspan deflection for fastener design two...

79

1
2
3
4
4
6
7
8
8
9
9
10
15
16
18
20
21
21
22
23
23
24
25
25
26
27
27
28
28
29
33
34
34
35
36
36
37
38
38
40
41
44
44
45
46
46
48
48

Figure 5.37. Total applied load verses midspan deflection for fastener design three. 49
Figure 5.38. Load verses slip for the six conducted tests 50
Figure 5.39. A buckling failure typical of all designs using 10-gauge steel 51
Figure 5.40. A shear failure that was typical of all designs using 7-gauge steel except for design 3 (14screw configuration)..
Figure 6.1. Scotchman 6509-24M used for ironworking (Scotchman, 2006)..
Figure 6.2. Rebar bracket..
Figure 8.1. Side view dimensions of the final design...
Figure 8.2. Top view dimensions of final design..
Figure 8.3. Final Connection Design.
Figure B.1. Two point loading set-up for testing connections bending strength
Figure B.2. Tinius Olson Universal Compression-Tension Testing Machine
Figure B.3. Steel tubing used for testing
Figure B.4. Bolts attaching steel connection to steel tube.
Figure B.5. Load-slip test set up for determining fastener slip modulus

80

52
53
54
57
58
59
68
69
70
70
72

List of Tables

Page #

Table 1.1. Production sizes of mechanically-laminated posts.


Table 1.2. Wholesale cost of no. 1 southern yellow pine.........
Table 1.3. Post-to-concrete connections...................................
Table 4.1. Calculated strengths for wood and concrete............
Table 5.1. Experimental design for steel bracket-to-concrete connection test set one.
Table 5.2. Max load strength applied to the concrete-steel connections test set one (lbs)
Table 5.3. Maximum bending strength of the concrete-steel connections test set one (kip-inches).
Table 5.4. Percentage of bending strength transferred in the connections for test set one
Table 5.5. Experimental design for steel bracket-to-concrete connection tests set two
Table 5.6. Max load applied to the concrete-steel connections test set two (lbs).
Table 5.7. Max bending strength of the concrete-steel connections test set two (kip-inches)..
Table 5.8. Percentage of bending strength transferred in the connections for test set two...
Table 5.9. Total load on each fastener group.............................
Table 5.10. Load applied per screw...........................................
Table 5.11. Maximum applied loads for wood connection tests (lbs)...
Table 5.12. Maximum bending moment for wood connection tests (kip-inches).
Table 5.13. Variables and numerical results of each load-slip test...
Table 5.14. Results determining the joint rotation for each wood-to-steel connection
Table A.1. Calculated bending strength of concrete with a single rebar configuration (kip-inches)
Table C.1. Set 1 concrete cylinder compression strengths after 28 days (psi)..
Table C.2. Set 2 concrete cylinder compression strengths after 28 days (psi)..
Table C.3. Set 1 concrete cylinder compression strengths estimation after 14 days (psi)
Table C.4. Set 2 Concrete cylinder compression strengths estimation after 14 days (psi)
Table C.5. Set one bending strengths using 14-day compression strengths (kip-inches)..
Table C.6. Bending strengths using 14-day compression strengths for single rebar (kip-inches)
Table C.7. Bending strengths using 14-day compression strengths for double rebar (kip-inches)..

81

2
6
8
13
19
29
30
30
32
39
39
40
42
43
47
47
49
51
63
73
73
74
74
74
75
75

List of Equations

Page #

Equation 5.1. .The buckling strength of steel plates.


Equation 5.2. .The expected bending strength of the steel plates..
Equation 5.3. .Used to determine this relationship between M and _
Equation A.1. .The expected bending strength of the concrete and single rebar configuration
Equation A.2. .The expected bending strength of the concrete and double rebar configuration
Equation A.3. .The approximate shear strength of the concrete piers
Equation A.4.. The expected bending strength of wood
Equation A.5. The approximate shear strength of each wood column.
Equation C.1. The compression strength of concrete at any given time..
Equation C.2. The 14 day compression strength of concrete

82

14
16
42
63
64
65
66
67
73
74