New Concept of Horizontal Structural Elements in Glass: Self bearing “Pi” Shape Plate

A new design of structural glass application is presented, based on a horizontal self-bearing and pre-stressed glass solution.

Our main objectives were to design, develop manufacture and test a completely transparent slender walkway, having the particularity of being self-bearing.

The starting point for the design has been the well behaviour of pre-stressed beams in terms of load capacity. Special care has been taken during design state to fulfil five safety requirements: resistance, retention, redundancy, post-breakage resistance and standard regulations.

For the design and verification of the model, analytic structural calculus and finite element models have been used. The effect of different pre-stress loads and buckling behaviour of the element have been studied, obtaining the relationship between load capacity, deflections, maximum tensional stress in glass and design parameters.

Finally, a full glass prototype has been built and tested. During the load test, deformation and the evolution of stress was recorded and measured using a polariscope.

The glass element was lead to breakage to validate the data obtained in the design phase and achieving relevant information regarding the post-breakage behaviour. Load was increased up to 2.5 times design load to reach the collapse state.