Anda di halaman 1dari 29

ENGR 3360

Section 3

Mechanics of Materials Lab

Lab #2: Wood Lab

March 12, 2008

Prepared By:

Kevin Chollman
Petroleum Engineering
Montana Tech


Jason Helland
General Engineering
Montana Tech

1 of 29

The wood lab is designed to test the strength of wood under compression and bending. This is
important as wood makes up most of our buildings and various everyday items. Wood’s strength
is an important aspect in any engineering design.

Wooden tripods were built using a variety of fasteners (common nail, ring shank nail, screws,
and wood glue) and the strength of the wood, as well as the fasteners, was tested with a 30K
Tinius Olsen machine. Aside from the wooden tripods, solid wood columns, solid wood beams,
and laminated wood beams were constructed and tested. The compressive strength of the solid
wood columns was found as well as the bending stress of both types of wooden beams.

Failure modes of the wood was found through visual inspection of each wood specimen and
demonstrated through either stress vs. strain plots or force applied vs. deflection plots. Through
these plots and test results, different properties of the wood samples were calculated and
compared to known theoretical values. These results will provide a basis of understanding of
wood properties and strengths.

2 of 29
Table of Contents:

Abstract ______________________________________________________________________2
Table of Contents _______________________________________________________________3
Figures, Equations, and Table List _________________________________________________4
Introduction ___________________________________________________________________5
Background ___________________________________________________________________5
Wood Preparation ________________________________________________________6
Equations _______________________________________________________________7
Experimental Results ____________________________________________________________8
Wood Type ______________________________________________________________8
Common Nail Tripod Results _______________________________________________8
Ring Shank Nail Tripod Results _____________________________________________9
Screwed Tripod Results ___________________________________________________10
Glued Along Grain Results ________________________________________________11
Glued Perpendicular to Grain Results ________________________________________12
Glued Tripod Comparison _________________________________________________13
Coarse Grained Column Results ____________________________________________13
Fine Grained Column Results ______________________________________________15
White Oak Column Results ________________________________________________17
Solid Beam Results ______________________________________________________18
Laminated .25” Beam Results ______________________________________________20
Laminated .375” Beam Results _____________________________________________22
Laminated .5” Beam Results _______________________________________________23
Laminated Beam Comparison ______________________________________________25
Conclusion ___________________________________________________________________27
References ___________________________________________________________________29

3 of 29
Figures, Equations, and Tables

Figure 1. Pre-Fastened Tripod _____________________________________________________6

Figure 2. Laminated Beam Being Glued _____________________________________________6
Equation 1. Stress _______________________________________________________________7
Equation 2. Strain _______________________________________________________________7
Equation 3. Modulus of Elasticity __________________________________________________7
Table I. Density Data ____________________________________________________________8
Figure 3. Stress vs. Strain Plot for Common Nail Tripods _______________________________8
Figure 4. Common Nail Tripod After Test ___________________________________________8
Figure 5. Common Nail Tripod “Cut Away” __________________________________________9
Figure 6. Stress vs. Strain Plot for Ring Shank Nail Tripods______________________________9
Figure 7. Ring Shank Nail Tripod Failure___________________________________________10
Figure 8. Stress vs. Strain Plot for Screwed Tripods___________________________________10
Figure 9. Screwed Tripod Failure__________________________________________________11
Figure 10. Stress vs. Strain Plot of Glued Tripods Along the Grain_______________________11
Figure 11. Glued Along Grain Tripod Failure________________________________________12
Figure 12. Stress vs. Strain Plot for Glued Against the Grain Tripod______________________12
Figure 13. Tripod 8 Failure_______________________________________________________13
Figure 14. Tripod 9 Failure_______________________________________________________13
Figure 15. Stress vs. Strain Plot for Coarse Grained Columns____________________________14
Table II. Coarse-Grained Column Results___________________________________________14
Figure 16. Column 1 Failure______________________________________________________15
Figure 17. Column 3 Failure______________________________________________________15
Figure 18. Stress vs. Strain Plot for Fine-Grained Columns______________________________15
Table III. Fine-Grained Column Results____________________________________________16
Figure 19. Column 2 Failure______________________________________________________16
Figure 20. Column 4 Failure______________________________________________________16
Figure 21. Stress vs. Strain Plot for White Oak Columns_______________________________17
Figure 22. White Oak Failure W/O Hole____________________________________________17
Figure 23. White Oak Failure W/ Hole______________________________________________17
Table IV. White Oak Column Results______________________________________________18
Figure 24. Force Diagram of Beam Test____________________________________________18
Figure 25. Force vs. Position Plot for Solid Beams____________________________________19
Table V. Solid Beam Data_______________________________________________________19

4 of 29
Figure 26. Solid Beam Failure____________________________________________________20
Figure 27. Force vs. Position Plot for .25” Laminated Beams____________________________20
Table VI. .25” Laminated Beam Data ______________________________________________21
Figure 28. Horizontal .25” Laminated Failure________________________________________22
Figure 29. Vertical .25” Laminated Failure__________________________________________22
Figure 30. Force vs. Position Plot for .375” Laminated Beam____________________________22
Table VII. .375” Laminated Beam Data_____________________________________________23
Figure 31. Force vs. Position Plot for .5” Laminated Beams_____________________________24
Table VIII. .5” Laminated Beam Data ______________________________________________25
Table IX. Laminated Beam Comparison____________________________________________26



Wood is used in a plethora of types of construction--from buildings, furniture, and

weapons to vehicles, tools, and utensils. Along with the various uses of wood, there are plenty of
different types of wood to use depending on the type of application. Wood shows considerable
strength in compression, tension, and bending; but wood also is subject to many types of defects
such as knots, warps and checks, and holes. Because of these defects--most of which you may
not even know exist as they could be inside the wood and you cannot see them--great care must
be taken with wood projects.

Below is text referencing the different types of wood and fastening systems that were
tested in this lab. The wood pieces were tested with a 30K Tinius Olsen machine that records the
test data such as force exerted, time, and position (deflection of the test piece). This data can then
be used to calculate the stress and strain for each test that allows analysis to find Young’s
Modulus and yield/break points for the test pieces.

The purpose of this lab was to test various types of fasteners (common nails, ring shank
nails, screws, glued along the grain, glued against the grain) and how well they “held” for five
pairs of wood “tripods.” Tripods consist of three 1.5” W x .75” T x 5” L wood pieces that are
fastened together with the different fasteners. The middle piece--the trunk--is offset by one inch
from the outer two pieces. The trunk is the wood piece that has the force exerted on it while the
fasteners try to hold the tripod together.

Along with the five pairs of tripods, the lab group made three pairs of laminated wood
beams. These samples were made with different thicknesses of plywood but were all 24” long.
Various numbers of these plywood pieces (different number of pieces depending on the
thickness of the pieces) were glued together to form the laminated wood beams. Pairs were made
in order to test the laminated wood beams parallel to the glued joints and perpendicular to the
glued joints. Performing a strengths analysis in this way allows a better understanding of how
laminated wood beams can hold up in different conditions.

To contrast the strength of laminated wood beams, solid wood beams were also tested.
These pieces were also 24” long but were 1.5” in width and thickness. Only one pair of solid

5 of 29
wood beams were tested as they did not require any fastening system.

The instructor provided small wood columns (roughly 1.5” in width and thickness and 6”
long) to test. These wood columns were tested in compression on the small area of the wood (the
type of compression that a building column would be in) to show how strong they are. A piece of
white oak was also tested (originally one large piece of 13” L x 1 1/16” T x 2 3/4” W and was
cut into two pieces for testing). The white oak showed remarkable compressive strength.

This lab will show which fastening system provides the best support--either common
nails, ring shank nails, screws, or glue along or against the grain. It will also show whether a
laminated beam with thicker or thinner glued sections is stronger as well as the strength of solid
wooden beams. These results should give a clearer understanding--and optimism--of the strength
of wood that can be used in construction projects.

Wood Preparation:

In order to prepare the wood samples for the tripods, approximately 1.5” W x .75” T x 5”
L wood pieces were cut with a power saw. These pieces were then marked with lines 1 ¾” from
the bottom and ¾” from the top. Other lines were drawn 3/8” from the outer edges. The
intersections of these lines gave approximate places to nail or screw the pieces (offsetting them
either above or below the lines). Figure 1 shows a tripod ready to be fastened.

Figure 1. Pre-Fastened Tripod

Figure 1 shows the four lines and intersections that give approximate locations of where
to fasten the tripod. The leftmost fasteners will be placed slightly below the intersections and the
rightmost fasteners will be places slightly above the intersections.

Along with the 10 wood tripod samples, six laminated wood beams were constructed--
three pairs, each of which having different thicknesses of plywood. Plywood pieces 24” long and
1.5” wide were cut for each sample (one pair was .5” thick, one pair was .375” thick, one pair
was .25” thick). The plywood was then glued together as shown in Figure 2.

6 of 29
Figure 2. Laminated Beam Being Glued

All of the glued wood tripods and laminated wood beams were then clamped and allowed
to dry for one day before the clamps were removed to ensure quality drying.

Stress is equal to force divided by area. The area in the tripod tests is taken to be the trunk
top that had the compressive force exerted on it (.75” x 1.5”). The same plane is used for the
columns (although each had a different planar area, unlike the tripods).

F F[lb f ]
(1) Stress = =
A width * thickness[in 2 ]

Strain is the amount of deflection divided by the total length. Using the test data, we
calculated the strain by the position divided by length--assumed to be six inches for a tripod and
varies for each column.

d Position [in]
(2) Strain = =
Length Length [in]

In order to calculate the modulus of elasticity of the wooden beams (in the straight line
portion of the data), as well as the maximum theoretical deflection, the following formula was

P * L3
(3) E=
48 * I *dmax

where: E = modulus of elasticity of the beam (psi)

P = force applied at the yield point (lbf)
L = total length of the beam (in)
I = moment of inertia of the beam (in4)
δ max = deflection at P (in)

7 of 29
Experimental Results:

Wood Type:

In order to complete this lab, a type of wood for the samples had to be determined.
Average density of all the wood was determined and then a specific gravity of the wood was
found. (See Table I.)

TABLE I. Density Data

Type of Sample Average Density (lb/ft3) Specific Gravity
Wood Beams 22.57 .36
Laminated Beams 31.86
Wood Columns 20.28 .33

This data shows that we could be using sugar pine (specific gravity of .34); hence, sugar
pine data was used in all theoretical calculations (including the plywood samples whose density
is higher due to the fact that it is plywood and is glued, meaning that it is not the same type of
wood throughout the sample).

Common Nail Tripod Results:

The common nail is a widely used fastener in construction projects and everyday
household projects. The common nail was also the hardest to fasten a wood tripod as their shaft
diameter was greater than the other fasteners and the wood split on nearly every sample. The
average stress on a common nail tripod was calculated to be 2016.5 psi. This stress is greater
than either the ring shank tripod and the screwed tripod averages. Results from the two tests were
used to calculate the stress and strain (Equations 1 and 2). These results were plotted on Figure 3.

8 of 29
Stress vs Strain
0 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.1 0.12 0.14
Tripod 5 Common Nail Tripod 10 Common Nail

Figure 3. Stress vs. Strain Plot for Common Nail Tripods

Figure 3 shows that Tripod 5 was able to undergo approximately 350 psi more stress than
Tripod 10. This could be due to a minor crack in Tripod 10 that we may have been unaware prior
to testing. However, Tripod 10 was able to hold the stress for a much longer time than Tripod 5
and, as a result, ended up having a higher deflection.

Figure 4 shows Tripod 5 after compression testing. From the outside, the tripod does not
seem to be very damaged, aside from the word “Monday” being so offset. Figure 5 shows the
same tripod with part of the trunk wood ripped away to see how the nails were trying to shear.
Even though the test on the tripod forced the tripod in compression, the nails were undergoing
shear stress as they were trying to break. Figure 5 shows this as the nails are bent downward
trying to shear them.

Figure 4. Common Nail Tripod After Test Figure 5. Common Nail Tripod “Cut Away”

Ring Shank Nail Tripod Results:

Ring Shank nails are smaller in shaft and head diameter than common nails and have
small rings around the shaft that provide greater resistance to withdrawal than other nails. Some
believe that ring shank nails hold more force than common nails; our tests showed opposite
results. This could be because the ring shank provides a greater withdrawal resistance and not a

9 of 29
greater shear resistance; or it could be due to the fact that the ring shank nails were much smaller
in diameter and length than the common nails. The Stress vs. Strain curve for ring shank nails is
shown in Figure 6.
Stress vs Stain





0 0.01 0.02 0.03 0.04 0.05 0.06 0.07 0.08 0.09
Tripod 3 Ring Shank Tripod 4 Ring Shank

Figure 6. Stress vs. Strain Plot for Ring Shank Nail Tripods

The maximum stress difference between Tripod 3 and Tripod 4 is approximately 200 psi;
but the curves give very similar plot shapes. The initial straight-line zone (used to calculate the
modulus of elasticity if this was a pure wood test) overlaps in such a way that the wood samples
could be twins. However, Tripod 3 was able to hold less stress than Tripod 4. Figure 7 shows
how the tripod failed.

Figure 7. Ring Shank Nail Tripod Failure

Figure 7 shows how the ring shank nails bent and responded to the compressive load
placed on the trunk. The shearing force on the nails seemed to be much greater than the common
nails due to how much they bent. The nails created very oblong holes in both sides of the tripod
pieces. However, besides the extreme bending and hole distortion no other failure modes can be
found; that is, the wood did not dramatically fail.

Screwed Tripod Results:

Screws are widely used as they give extreme withdrawal resistance and can maintain
good shearing and compressive loads. Tripod 1 gave a stress that was higher than either ring
shank nail and common nail Tripod 10. Tripod 2 gave results on par with the other fasteners. The

10 of 29
Stress vs. Strain plot is shown in Figure 8.

Stress vs Strain
0 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.1 0.12 0.14 0.16
Tripod 1 Screws Tripod 2 Screws

Figure 8. Stress vs. Strain Plot for Screwed Tripods

Tripod 1 shows considerably greater strength than Tripod 2. This could be due to a split
that we were unaware of in Tripod 2. However, the shape of each curve in Figure 8 is of similar
shape. The screw seems to withhold a lot of force before the wood would split. Then the screws
would hold more force for a while until the wood began splitting more. It did not seem to be a
very conventional Stress vs. Strain plot with the straight-line portion, the compressive strength,
and the rupture point. Figure 9 shows a “cut-away” of a screwed tripod failure.

Figure 9. Screwed Tripod Failure

Figure 9 shows that the screws underwent high shear stresses with the bottom-right screw
shearing completely. The holes are very oblong and the wood is deformed in these holes. Besides
the excessive shearing of the screws, there are no other visible signs of failure from the wood.

Glued Along Grain Results:

Common practice when gluing wood pieces together is to glue “along” the grain of each
piece (so that the grain is parallel on all the pieces). By gluing it this way the wood is supposed
to hold much greater stresses. Figure 10 shows the validity of this.

11 of 29
Stress vs Strain





0 0.005 0.01 0.015 0.02 0.025
Tripod 6 Glue with Grain Tripod 7 Glue with Grain

Figure 10. Stress vs. Strain Plot of Glued Tripods Along the Grain

Figure 10 shows that Tripod 6 held much better than Tripod 7; this could be due to a less
than exemplary gluing job on Tripod 7. Tripod 6 held approximately 2200 psi more than Tripod
7. However, each piece gave the same stress/strain curve shape and deflection for each piece was
nearly equal. Looking at either Tripod 6 or Tripod 7 data, one can see that, comparatively, wood
glue holds much stronger than any other fastening method. One reason for this is the shear stress
problem with fasteners and bolts. Glue holds a much greater area than any bolt can and, thusly,
can withstand a much greater shear stress than any bolt. Figure 11 shows a glued tripod after

Figure 11. Glued Along Grain Tripod Failure

As Figure 11 shows, the glued tripod did not experience any failure outside of the 1”
offset trunk. The glue was able to withstand the shearing force and hold together. The top of the
trunk underwent all of the compressive force and ended up failing. This failure was due solely to
the wood properties and not the fastening system, unlike the different types of bolts.

Glued Perpendicular to Grain Results:

12 of 29
Common practice says that gluing against the grains provides weaker support amongst
other problems in woodwork. Figure 12 shows the truth of this belief.
Stress vs Strain
0 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.1 0.12 0.14 0.16 0.18
Tripod 8 Glue Perpendicular Tripod 9 Glue perpendicular

Figure 12. Stress vs. Strain Plot for Glued Against the Grain Tripod
Each Tripod (8 and 9) held almost the same amount of stress (approximately 1730 psi)
before failing. When they did fail, they failed catastrophically as shown by the nearly straight
line downward of stress. Figures 13 and 14 shows the catastrophic failure of these tripods.

Figure 13. Tripod 8 Failure Figure 14. Tripod 9 Failure

As Figures 13 and 14 clearly demonstrate, gluing against the grains of wood is not
recommended practice. In the case of Tripod 8 (Figure 13), besides the extreme level of
compression of the trunk top, the left leg popped off completely and shot out of the test system.
Tripod 9 (Figure 14) shows extreme compression of the trunk top (almost to the top of the legs)
before splitting from the right leg completely and damaging the left leg bottom. Both are cases of
catastrophic failure.

Glued Tripod Comparison:

13 of 29
As shows above in contrasting Figure 11 with Figures 13 and 14, gluing against the
grains results in catastrophic failure that would cause extreme damage in any project. Comparing
Figure 10 with Figure 12 we see that gluing along the grains provides considerably greater
strength than gluing against the grains does and results in far less failure and damage.

Coarse Grained Column Results:

Columns 1 and 3 were coarse-grained wood columns; however, Column 1 was cut
parallel to the grains and Column 3 was cut perpendicular to the grains. Because of this, we see
incredible variance in our results (such as the difference in methods of gluing). Figure 15 shows
the Stress vs. Strain plot of these samples.

Stress vs Strain





0.000 0.020 0.040 0.060 0.080 0.100 0.120
Column 1 Parallel coarse Column 2 Perpendicular coarse

Figure 15. Stress vs. Strain Plot for Coarse Grained Columns

Figure 15 shows how a column cut parallel to the grains can withstand magnitudes more
stress than a column cut perpendicular to the grains. These coarse-grained samples have
incredibly different values for their Yield Stress, Maximum Strength, Modulus of Elasticity, and
their Strength to Weight Ratio (see Table II). This difference is solely due to the fact that one
was crushed parallel to grains and one perpendicular.

TABLE II. Coarse-Grained Column Results

COLUMN 1 -- Parallel to Grain
Ultimate Strength = 5,610 psi
Yield strength = 5,000 psi
Modulus of Elasticity = 468,915 psi
Strength to weight ratio = 27,719 lbf/lbm
COLUMN 3 -- Perpendicular to Grains
Ultimate Strength = 713 psi
Yield strength = 500 psi
Modulus of Elasticity = 53,711 psi
Strength to weight ratio = 3,599 lbf/lbm

The results shown in Table I1 show that when crushed parallel to the grains the strength

14 of 29
is about 5000 psi greater and Yield Strength is a factor of 10 greater. The Modulus of Elasticity
also varied by almost a factor of 10 between the samples.

We determined--through measurement of all columns--that the average density was 20.28

lb/ft3. This gives a specific gravity (when compared to water at 62.4 lb/ft3) of approximately .33.
This specific gravity tells us that we probably have sugar pine wood. Sugar Pine has a Modulus
of Elasticity of about 1.19 X106 psi. Column 1 gave a Modulus of Elasticy (the slope of the
straight line portion of the Stress/Strain plot) of 468,915 psi, less than half that of the published
value. All of out subsequent results also vary considerably from the theoretical value of modulus
of elasticity. However, compression test data shows that when testing parallel to the grains, a
strength of about 4,460 psi should be seen for dry samples (as ours were). Data also says that for
a perpendicular test we shold see strength around 500 psi. Both of these results are accurate with
those found in Table II.

Figures 16 and 17 shows failure of the two columns.

Figure 16. Column 1 Failure Figure 17. Column 3 Failure

Figures 16 and 17 show the variance in parallel and perpendicular grain strength. There
were no flaws in our samples. Column 1 cracked along a grain and bent which caused more
splitting and failure. Column 3 was compressed and broken at the top catastrophically. The entire
column was tilted until all of the force was going through one bottom edge. These pictures show
how the above data in Table I may not prove to be entirely accurate simply based on the
orientation during compression.

Fine Grained Column Results:

Columns 2 and 4 were fine-grained columns. Column 2 was broken perpendicular to the
grain, and Column 4 was broken parallel to the grain. Figure 18 shows the Stress vs. Strain plot
of the test data.

15 of 29
Stress vs. Strain
1500 (psi)
0.00E+00 2.00E-02 4.00E-02 6.00E-02 8.00E-02 1.00E-01 1.20E-01 1.40E-01 1.60E-01 1.80E-01 2.00E-01
Strain (in/in)
Column 2 Perpendicular Fine Column 4 Parallel Fine

Figure 18. Stress vs. Strain Plot for Fine-Grained Columns

Figure 18 shows how fine-grained columns, like coarse-grained columns, can withstand
magnitudes greater of stress when cut parallel to the grains rather than perpendicular. However,
when they are cut parallel they fail much faster than when cut perpendicular. Table III shows the
differences in strengths for the two columns.

TABLE III. Fine-Grained Column Results

Column 2 -- Perpendicular to Grains
Ultimate Strength = 369 psi
Yield Strength = 300 psi
Modulus of Elasticity = 10,346 psi
Strength to weight ratio = 2,097 lbf/lbm
Column 4 -- Parallel to Grains
Ultimate Strength = 4,578 psi
Yield Strength = 4,300 psi
Modulus of Elasticity = 410,496 psi
Strength to weight ratio = 23,119 lbf/lbm

When compared to the theoretical value of Module of Elasticity, the fine-grained results
don’t get any better than the coarse-grained results. The column cut parallel to the grain’s E
value is still less than half that of the theoretical value. However, when compared to compression
test theoretical data (4,460 psi for parallel and 500 psi for perpendicular) our results are in the
correct range and show accurate testing. Comparing the two columns we see how much stronger
wood is when compressed parallel to the grain. Contrasting these results with those of Table II,
we see that the columns cut parallel (1 and 4) hold about the same stress; and the columns cut
perpendicular (2 and 3) hold different stresses.
Column 2 (fine- grained) holds about half that of
the coarse-grained sample. This could be due to a
split in the wood in Column 2 along the bottom (See
Figure 19 and 20 for failure.) Fine-grained columns
also have more cracks that could allow more
shear stress.

16 of 29
Figure 19. Column 2 Failure Figure 20. Column 4 Failure

Figure 19 shows that Column 2 (perpendicular to grain) compressed and bowed outward.
It then split along the bottom, which led to its small strength. Figure 20 shows that Column 4
(parallel to grain) merely split along a couple of grains and did not have near the amount of
failure that occurred in Column 2.

White Oak Column Results:

Two columns of white oak were given to us to test. These pieces showed incredible
strength and remarkable results. Figure 21 shows the Stress vs. Strain plot for the two white oak
Stress vs Strain





0.000 0.020 0.040 0.060 0.080 0.100 0.120 0.140 0.160
Oak column with hole Oak column

Figure 21. Stress vs. Strain Plot for White Oak Columns

Figure 21 shows how strong the two white oak columns were. One of the columns had a
hole in it and showed less strength (although still greater than any other column) than the other
white oak column. The second white oak column almost maxed out the Tinius Olsen machine as
it had nearly 28,000 pounds of force exerted on it.

The column without a hole (Figure 22) also had remarkable failure/repair. It failed and
sheared before catching and fusing together again. See Figures 22 and 23 for examples.

17 of 29
Figure 22. White Oak Failure W/O Hole Figure 23. White Oak Failure W/ Hole

Figures 22 and 23 show how different the two different modes of failure were. When the
white oak had a hole, the wood split at the hole and was catastrophic--the entire piece ruptured.
Without a hole, the white oak sheared along an oblique axis before catching and re-fusing with
itself to maintain a level of around 15,000 lbf. The results from the white oak test are shown
below in Table IV.

TABLE IV. White Oak Column Results

Column W/ Hole
Ultimate Strength = 6,207 psi
Yield Strength = 5,000 psi
Modulus of Elasticity = 674,374 psi
Strength to weight ratio = 14,850 lbm/lbf
Column W/O Hole
Ultimate Strength = 9,594 psi
Yield Strength = 7,500 psi
Modulus of Elasticity = 731,167 psi
Strength to weight ratio = 22,952 lbm/lbf

Table IV shows just how strong the white oak is. During a compression test, white oak
parallel to the grain (as our test was) should have a strength of around 3,560 psi with some water
content, or about 7,440 psi dry. Our white oak test columns were dry and give an average
strength of 7,900 psi, which is in the range of testing approximation and about what the
theoretical value is (just a little higher). With a hole through one white oak column, it had an
ultimate strength of over 6,200 psi and a modulus of elasticity of over 674,000 psi. Without a
hole, the ultimate strength grew to over 9,500 psi with a modulus of elasticity of over 731,000
psi. This shows that, compared to the regular sugar pine columns, that white oak is considerable
stronger under compressive forces.

Solid Beam Results:

Solid sugar pine beams measuring about 24” long and roughly 1.5” w X 1.5” thick were

18 of 29
provided to test. The solid beams were placed in a holder that provided support over an 18”
length with the Tinius Olsen testing apparatus compressive force directly in the center (9” from
supports). (See Figure 24 for diagram.)

24” total length wood beam


Figure 24. Force Diagram of Beam Test

A stress vs. strain curve was not plotted for any beams; instead, a force vs. position curve
was plotted. The plotted data was the data given by the test apparatus. The data for both of the
solid beams is plotted in Figure 25 along with two theoretical performance curves.
Force vs. Position




Force (lbf)


0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6
Position (in)
Solid 1 Solid 2
Solid 1 THEORY Solid 2 THEORY

Figure 25. Force vs. Position Plot for Solid Beams

As Figure 25 shows, both beams failed at almost exactly the same amount of deflection
(approximately .43 inches). The failures were dramatic and quick. The two theoretical
performance curves were calculated by Equation 3 using the modulus of elasticity of sugar pine
(1.19 X 106 psi) and the actual applied force. These theoretical curves show that the beams were
able to deflect and bend more; so the modulus of elasticity of the two solid beams was far less
than the theoretical value. (See TABLE V for solid beam data.)

TABLE V. Solid Beam Data

E = 1.19E+06 psi
Max Parallel Stress = 4460 psi
Max Force = 1,248 lbf
Max Moment = 11,234 lbf-in

19 of 29
Yield Point = 1,100 lbf
Moment of Inertia = 0.3766 in4
Max Bending Stress = 22,366 psi
Max Deflection = 0.36462 in
E= 973,385 psi
Max Force = 860.93 lbf
Max Moment = 7,748 lbf-in
Yield Point = 600 lbf
Moment of Inertia = 0.4046 in4
Max Bending Stress = 14,419 psi
Max Deflection = 0.184203 in
E= 978,155 psi

Table V shows all of the theoretical data for sugar pine and all of the calculated data for
the two solid beams. Comparing the calculated modulus of elasticity of Solid 1 and Solid 2 to
theoretical sugar pine E value (1.19E6 psi) we see that we are approximately 250,000 psi less
and approximately 500,000 psi less for Solid 2. However, we also see that the maximum force on
either beam is considerably less than the maximum parallel stress of sugar pine. The max
deflection is at the yield point (to calculate a correct E value). The difference in strength could be
due to knots in the wood sample, improper placement of the wood, improperly securing the
beam, having a different type of wood than sugar pine, among other types of human error.

Figure 26 shows failure for one of the solid beams.

Figure 26. Solid Beam Failure

The solid beams failed along the outer edge of the beam (the bottom edge below the “A”
is visibly split). Figure 26 accurately shows how the beam bent (along the black line on the top
edge). The failure was not visibly dramatic; but the failure was, looking at the Force vs. Position
plot, very sudden and severe.

Laminated .25” Beam Results:

Three sets of laminated beams were constructed. To make the .25” laminated beams, six
pieces of 24” long X 1.5” wide plywood were used. These pieces were glued together with wood
glue and clamped together for a day to dry. Two samples of each laminated beam were made,
one to crush horizontally and one to crush vertically. The test results are shown in Figure 27.

20 of 29
Force vs. Position
300 (lbf)
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7
Postiion (in)
Horizontal .25 Vertical .25
Theory Horizontal .25 Theory Vertical .25
Figure 27. Force vs. Position Plot for .25” Laminated Beams
Figure 27 shows the force/position data for the horizontal and vertical data as well as
theoretical deflections based on Equation 3 and the true modulus of elasticity of sugar pine. Our
data shows considerable deviation from the theoretical due to the primary fact that laminated
plywood pieces are not made up of one type of wood. Rather, plywood is made up of many types
of wood and is glued together. However, we also see that the vertical was able to withstand a
little more force than the horizontal and that the horizontal beam was able to deflect about twice
as much as the vertical beam. This difference in deflection is due to the fact that when bending
the beam horizontally, the beam is allowed to bend and adjust to the force. When bending with
the beam vertically, the beam is not allowed to bend much and will snap much more easily as
there is no tolerance in bend when the beam is oriented vertically. Table VI shows the calculated
data for the .25” laminated beams.

TABLE VI. .25" Laminated Beam Data

E = 1.19E+06 psi
Max Parallel Stress = 4460 psi
Max Perpendicular Stress = 500 psi
Max Force = 773.02 lbf
Max Moment = 6,957 lbf-in
Yield Point = 700 lbf
Moment of Inertia = 0.4633 in4
Max Bending Stress = 12,305 psi
Max Deflection = 0.27167 in
E= 579,147 psi
Max Force = 813.53 lbf
Max Moment = 7,322 lbf-in
Yield Point = 600 lbf

21 of 29
Moment of Inertia = 0.4087 in4
Max Bending Stress = 14,018 psi
Max Deflection = 0.24044 in
E= 865,521 psi

Table VI shows the theoretical sugar pine values for modulus of elasticity and maximum
stresses under a compression test. A laminated beam, as out data shows, cannot hold as much as
a solid beam could (compare values to Table V and we see that our results are a few hundred lbf
less than solid beams). The data also shows us that laminated beams are weaker horizontally than
vertically. This result is to be expected as the plywood pieces are glued horizontally while the
vertical test is testing the capacity of the wood alone. However, the yield point for the vertical
test is slightly lower than the horizontal test (but, you could almost assume the max force on the
horizontal beam is the yield point as the data leading up is nearly straight, but starts bending
slightly around 600 lbf). The modulus of elasticity of both beams was lower than that of pure
sugar pine (as expected) but also vary considerably from one another due to their difference in
deflections primarily.

Figures 28 and 29 show failure for .25” laminated beams broken horizontally and
vertically, respectfully.

Figure 28. Horizontal .25” Laminated Failure Figure 29. Vertical .25” Laminated Failure

These figures show failure modes for horizontal and vertical laminated beams. Figure 28
shows how the horizontal beams simply split the glued joint and bent (see the large hole to the
left of the crushing element). This bending also caused splitting on the bottom edge of the beam
due to tension. Figure 29 shows how the vertical beam simply developed small cracks along the
middle and failed. Vertical failure was not nearly as visually dramatic as horizontal failure. All
subsequent laminated beams failed by the same modes, hence pictures of those beams are not
shown in their sections.

Laminated .375” Beam Results:

Four pieces of .375” plywood were glued together to make a ..375” laminated beam. Two
of these were made to test horizontally and vertically. Results of this test are shown in Figure 30.

22 of 29
Force vs. Position
Force (lbf)
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5
Position (in)
.375" Horizontal .375" Vertical

Figure 30. Force vs. Position Plot for .375” Laminated Beam

Just as the last two beam force vs. position plots were, Figure 30 shows the test data and
theoretical sugar pine data. The horizontal test gave very linear results, yet again, and was able to
deflect more before failure. However, we see that the vertical beam was able to withstand force
for a greater time than the horizontal beam. This could be due to the vertical beam cracking and
splitting over a long period of time, whereas the horizontal beam had major failures. Table VII
shows the calculated data for the .375” laminated beams.

TABLE VII. .375" Laminated Beam Data

E = 1.19E+06 psi
Max Parallel Stress = 4,460 psi
Max Perpendicular Stress = 500 psi
Max Force = 615.97 lbf
Max Moment = 5,544 lbf-in
Moment of Inertia = 0.4133 in4
Yield Point = 550 lbf
Max Bending Stress = 10,466 psi
Max Deflection = 0.33733 in
E= 479,263 psi
Max Force = 767.44 lbf
Max Moment = 6,907 lbf-in
Yield Point = 720 lbf
Moment of Inertia = 0.4594 in4
Max Bending Stress = 12,067 psi
Max Deflection = 0.2629 in

23 of 29
E= 724,368 psi

Table VII shows the theoretical sugar pine values for modulus of elasticity and maximum
stresses under a compression test as well as the calculated values of the .375” laminated beams.
As Table VII shows, a laminated .375” beam of the same thickness cannot hold as much force as
a .25” beam can. Also, the modulus of elasticity of the .375” laminated beams are still less than
that of solid sugar pine (as expected), but aren’t as great at those of .25” beams. However, the .
375” beams were able to deflect more before plastic deformation would occur (E is no longer the
slope of stress/strain curve). We also see, once again, that a laminated beam broken vertically is
stronger than a horizontal beam; and, in this case, the vertical laminated beam was able to hold
force for a longer time and deflect more than the .25” beam. The .375” laminated beam also had
less plywood pieces holding it together, which could attribute to its weaker properties.

Laminated .5” Beam Results:

Three pieces of .5” thick plywood were glued together to form the .5” laminated beam.
Two of these beams were made to test their strength under bending conditions. These results are
shown in Figure 31.
Force vs. Position




300 (lbf)



0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 0.3 0.35 0.4 0.45 0.5
Position (in)
.5" Horizontal .5" Vertical

Figure 31. Force vs. Position Plot for .5” Laminated Beams

Figure 31 shows the theoretical sugar pine values for the given stress from Equation 3.
The .5” beams, when broken either horizontally or vertically, both deflected approximately the
same amount before failing (around .31 inches). Both beams behaved very similarly in this test
and deflected almost the same amount (with the horizontal able to deflect more in this test).
These results are slightly different than those of the prior tests; however, the vertical still was
able to hold more force than the horizontal beam could. All calculated data is shown in Table

24 of 29
TABLE VIII. .5" Laminated Beam Results
E = 1.19E+06 psi
Max Parallel Stress = 4,460 psi
Max Perpendicular Stress = 500 psi
Max Force = 584.59 lbf
Max Moment = 5,261 lbf-in
Yield Point = 462 lbf
Moment of Inertia = 0.4684 in4
Max Bending Stress = 9,109 psi
Max Deflection = 0.20876 in
E= 574,023 psi
Max Force = 674.59 lbf
Max Moment = 6,071 lbf-in
Yield Point = 625 lbf
Moment of Inertia = 0.4091 in4
Max Bending Stress = 11,596 psi
Max Deflection = 0.23487 in
E= 790,264 psi

Table VIII shows the theoretical sugar pine values and, once again the laminated beams
give a modulus of elasticity that is less than the theoretical (as expected). However, the E values
for the .5” beam are greater than those for the .375” beam and very slightly less than the .25”
beams. This provides us with no good correlation for calculating E based on different types of

25 of 29
plywood (amount of pieces glued together to get the same overall thickness). The .5” laminated
beam was not able to hold as much for as either previous laminated beam as there is less
plywood pieces and less glued joints in the .5” sample. Overall, the data provides very similar
results and allows some basic conclusions about the data.

Laminated Beam Comparison:

Table IX shows the modulus of elasticity of every laminated beam (horizontal and
vertical) as well as the max force that each could hold. It also shows the average value for each

TABLE IX. Laminated Beam Comparison

.25" Beam Horizontal Vertical
E (psi) 579,147 865,521
Max Force (lbf) 773.02 813.53
.375" Beam
E (psi) 479,263 724,368
Max Force (lbf) 615.97 767.44
.5" Beam
E (psi) 574,023 790,264
Max Force (lbf) 584.59 674.59
E (psi) 544,144 793,384
Max Force (lbf) 657.86 751.85

The above table shows how similar the horizontal values are to each other as well as the
vertical values (for modulus of elasticity). It also shows how the maximum force decreased with
the number of plywood pieces per beam (as there is less glued area to hold the beam together).
The table also aptly shows how much stronger the vertical orientation is when compared to
horizontal laminated beam orientation.

26 of 29

Strength is one of the most important properties of wood and invaluable in any
engineering design. Through this lab, we were able to determine different strengths, as well as
other properties, of each wood sample tested.

The wood tripods underwent a compression test that not only compressed the wood
sample but also tried to shear the fasteners. Because of these two different types of stresses, we
were unable to calculate any true values of the materials. However, through multiple
assumptions, we could plot a Stress vs. Strain diagram of each tripod’s test data. This plot gave
us the ultimate stress that any tripod could endure and gave a reference to compare the different
types of fasteners to.

According to our results, the glued tripods performed substantially better than any other
fastening method. Our conclusion regarding this is the fact that wood glue covers much more
area than any bolt fastener could. By utilizing a larger area, Equation 1 (see Introduction) shows
that more force has to be applied to achieve the same amount of stress that a smaller force over a
smaller area has. In other words, the stress transfer through the trunk to the legs is greater when
using glue as there is more area to transfer the stress. When fastened with a bolt, the legs cannot
receive more stress as the area of a bolt is much less than the area of the glue; so the bolts shear.
Glue is the strongest fastening system from our test data.

The solid wood columns underwent a compression test similar to the wood tripods.
However, due to the simple fact that these pieces were solid and not fastened together, the
calculations were simpler and easier--since we didn’t have to worry about the shearing of the
bolts. Two fine-grained samples and two coarse-grained samples were tested along with two
white oak columns.

According to our results, the coarse-grained wood columns are stronger than the fine-
grained columns. This is opposite to what we initially believed. Coarse-grained, we thought,

27 of 29
would split easier. And while the coarse-grained samples did have more catastrophic visual
failure, they were still able to hold more force than the fine-grained columns.

The white oak pieces, even with a major defect, were extraordinarily stronger than either
the fine-grained or the coarse-grained solid pieces. White oak is known as a very strong wood
and our test simply proved that (the piece without a hole almost maxed out the test apparatus).

The wood beams also gave some interesting results.

The solid wood beams were placed under bending stress until they failed. These failures
happened quickly and dramatically (according to the data) but not as visually dramatic. The solid
wood beams split along the bottom edge as it was under tension and cracked easily. These beams
were primarily tested to compare to the laminated beams.

Three different sets of laminated beams were constructed using plywood of these various
thicknesses: .25”, .375”, and .5”. The .25” thick beams had six plywood sheets, the .375” thick
beams had four plywood sheets, and the .5” thick beams had three plywood sheets. According to
our results, the greater the amount of plywood sheets, the stronger the force one can apply to the
laminated beam. This is due to the fact that the more sheets there is, the more glue there is. An
interesting result from the laminated beam tests is that the laminated beams are stronger when
bent vertically (that is, the plies and the force are in the same plane). Also, a modulus of
elasticity was calculated from the test data for the laminated beams. These were compared to
values of pure sugar pine. This comparison is invalid as plywood can be made from up to 70
different types of wood. However, the data shows that plywood laminated beams were unable to
withstand the amount of force that a solid beam could. This could be due to human error in
gluing, the fact that laminated beams could be weaker than solid wood beams, and that some of
the plywood pieces had small gaps in between wood pieces within the plies.

Through this lab, we found that glue is the strongest fastener for wood (but impractical in
some applications and subject to environmental weather that will weaken the glue), that coarse-
grained wood is stronger than fine-grained wood under compression, that white oak is extremely
strong under compression compared to other woods, that laminated beams gain strength with the
number of plies, and that laminated beams are not as strong as solid wood beams.

28 of 29

Beer, F. P., Johnston, Jr., E. & DeWold, J. T. (2006). Mechanics of Materials (4th ed.).
McGraw Hill.

Green, D. W., Winandy, J. E. & Kretschmann, D. E. (2008). Chapter 4 - Mechanical Properties

of Wood. Wood Background.pdf.

Wieden, A. C. North American Hardwoods. Forest Service. Retrieved March 1, 2008, from

29 of 29