Optimizing the design of timber components under decay and climate variations
The durability of timber structures can be affected by the isolated or combined actions of loading, moisture content, temperature, biological activity, etc. This work focuses on the optimal design of new timber structures subjected to deterioration. Since the deterioration processes and the structural behavior of timber structures are complex, nowadays the deterioration models are not able to account for all influencing factors. Consequently, this study is based on an empirical model that was derived based in-lab experimental studies for the decay growth of brown rot in pine sapwood under variant climate conditions. Such a model is divided into two processes: (i) activation process and (ii) mass loss process. On the other hand, there are significant uncertainties involved in the problem. The uncertainties inherent to materials properties, models and climate are considered throughout a time-dependent reliability based-design optimization (TD-RBDO) approach. The TD-RBDO aims to ensure a target reliability level during the operational life. This approach is applied to design optimization of a new timber component subjected to different French climates. The performance of the optimized solution is compared with a traditional cross-section designed according to the Eurocode 5 in terms of safety. The overall results indicate that an optimized solution ensures a target reliability level during the whole structural lifetime.