UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Performance of connections in engineered glass structures Dela Peña, Dan Irwin J.


The current use of glass as a building material is mostly restricted to glazing applications. However, contemporary architecture is seeing an increasing demand in providing building transparency, leading to unconventional load bearing applications for glass. The inherent beneficial glass properties, such as a high compressive strength and efficient building physics characteristics, aid in justifying the use of glass. However, the brittle nature of glass and the high sensitivity to microscopic surface flaws hinder engineers from fully exploiting the material. Coupled with the fact that current manufacturing practices limit glass products in standardized sizes, as well as the lack in general design provisions, engineers face a big challenge in providing reliable design solutions. This thesis firstly gives an overview of relevant glass properties that motivate the current treatment from a theoretical and practical standpoint. Secondly, it presents a parametric investigation of mechanically bolted and adhesively bonded glass elements to understand the in-plane loaded behaviour. It is shown that adhesively bonded joints outperform the bolted configurations. It is further shown that for a given bolted glass panel assembly, an optimum bolt hole diameter exists where the resulting stresses are minimized. As for the adhesively bonded joints, increasing the bond area reduces the stresses up to a certain threshold. The third part of the thesis presents two unique case studies where glass is used in structural applications. The first case study describes the development of an all-glass sandwich panel assembly in the context of ribbed telescope mirrors for astronomical telescopes. The second case study analyzes a pedestrian bridge comprised of timber and glass components acting in a composite configuration. Code-based and common material limits for glass are found to be satisfied. Both case studies highlight the potential for glass to be used in such applications and serve as precursors for further research.

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