The glulam technology allows the manufacture of thick, wide and very long components; not just simple straight glulam elements, but curved elements too. Straight beams are manufactured with a constant cross-sectional dimension, mono-pitched or double-pitched. For larger buildings, two or three pin trusses, portal frames or arch frames of glulam components are suitable.
Portal frames can have curved or finger-jointed haunches. Glulam beams can be arranged in the form of a grid. Shell structures provide a wide choice of advanced forms free from columns. There are also many complex structural systems, e.g. arch and beam frame. One advantage is that all glulam components can be made in the factory in suitable sections for transportation, and then assembled on the building site. Glulam is an exciting construction material, partly because it lends itself so well to curved forms, such as arches, frames etc., and partly because its strength is particularly favourable for large spans. Free spans of over 100 m have been built.
Modern gluing technology, in combination with timber’s good strength qualities, makes glulam a highly effective structural material with a unique series of characteristics:
• An appealing aesthetic appearance which acts as a valuable addition to the interior and exterior environment.
• A high strength to weight ratio, enabling wide spans.
• Small manufacturing tolerances and good form stability within normal temperature and moisture conditions.
• High resistance to fire – often a requirement in public buildings.
• Good heat insulating characteristics, reducing the effect of cold bridges and the risk of condensation.
• Low weight, resulting in low transport and erection costs and reducing the cost of foundations.
• Long life in chemically demanding environments.
• Flexible production, enabling curved structural components to be produced at lower costs than other materials.