Reinforcement of timber elements in existing structures
1University of Minho (Portugal), 2Technische Universität München (Germany)
Note: Chair and secretary of the RILEM TC 245 RTE, respectively
The last decades were marked by a significant widening in the range of structural application of timber. There is, however, a growing need for the maintenance and upgrading of existing buildings for economic, environmental, historical and social concerns. Worldwide, a large proportion of the existing building stock is more than 50 years old; many of these buildings need to be adapted for more sophisticated present and future requirements. The need for structural reinforcement of timber buildings may become necessary from motivations such as change of use, changes in regulatory specifications, interventions to increase seismic resistance, deterioration due to poor maintenance, or exceptional damaging incidents.
Recent developments related to structural reinforcement can be grouped into three categories: addition of new structural systems to support the existing structure; configuration of a composite system; and incorporation of elements to increase strength and stiffness.
In the latter category, the options range from mechanical fasteners like glued-in rods and self-tapping screws, adhesive systems, steel straps and plates, ever more widely fibre-reinforced polymers, and most recently nanotechnology. These methodologies, however, are often not adapted for their use on-site nor depending on whether the structure is part of the regular building stock or belongs to cultural heritage.
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