Glued Laminated Timber: Definition, Advantages, and Uses
January 16, 2023
Glued laminated timber commonly known as Glulam which is wood products in the form of stacked laminated boards glued together with glue. The application of Glulam materials in buildings is generally used as wide-span building frames, because this type of glulam wood can have spans above 50 m. This product is an innovation in overcoming the limited raw material for large diameter and high quality solid wood as a building material. Basically laminated beams are products produced by stacking a number of boards or laminae on top of one another and glue it to form the desired beam cross section.
Glulam was first discovered in Germany, and is currently one of the most popular building construction materials in the world, especially in Europe and North America. History and development Laminated beams were first used in Europe as construction for an auditorium in Basel, Switzerland in 1893. Otto Karl Freidrich Hetzer obtained the first patent for this construction in 1901 so it became known as the “Hetzer System”. Its application at that time was still limited because the adhesive used was not waterproof.
Advantages and Uses Glued Laminated Timber
Glulam construction offers superior strength and rigidity to dimensional lumber, and is pound-for-pound stronger than steel. Connections for glulam beams are usually made by bolts or steel dowels and steel plates. Glulam is not only powerful, cost effective and highly customizable; they are also resource efficient as they are made with relatively small pieces of wood to make sizable timber members that would otherwise require large, old logs. Glulam offers many benefits to designers and builders:
- Versatile use as roof and floor beams, columns, bracing, decking, and other structural components.
- Environmentally friendly material with very low formaldehyde levels.
- Capable of making unsupported spans of more than 500 feet.
- Reduced transportation and handling costs.
- Easy installation and surface repair.
- Can be customized to meet special needs.
- Good fire resistance; can last longer than steel beams under the same fire conditions.
- Manufactured to precise dimensions.
Glulam can be used in a variety of applications and for both indoor and outdoor projects. Common forms include:
- Straight beams, including lintels, purlins, ridge beams and floor beams.
- Columns, including round, square and complex sections.
- Bound Arches.
- Supports curved bridges.
- Curved beam.