American Society of Civil Engineers

Strength and Stiffness Reduction of Large Notched Beams

by Joseph F. Murphy, (Research Engr., Forest Products Lab., Forest Service, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Madison, WI 53705)

Journal of Structural Engineering, Vol. 112, No. 9, September 1986, pp. 1989-2000, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: Four large glulam beams with notches on the tension side were tested for strength and stiffness. Using either bending net section beam theory or shear formula to calculate crack propagation critical load is very unconservative. A linear elastic fracture mechanics approach, taking into account the high tension stresses perpendicular to grain and shear stresses at the notch reentrant corner, conservatively predicts the critical load. The data corroborate the substantial analytic effect of size predicted by fracture mechanics for notched beams. Results quantify the observed behavior of bending of beams with notches on the tension side. The strength reduction is so severe for large beams that substituting a beam having the net depth of the notched beam is preferable. Removing material would remove the stress concentrator and would increase the strength up to net section theory prediction at the notch location. Using an effective notch length (actual notch length + notch depth added to each end of the notch) and variable moment of inertia, beam theory accurately predicts the notch beam deflection under load.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Laminated materials
Wood beams