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Slovenian researchers developed an innovative connection system for assembling glass to timber elements with the help of self-tapping screws. The invention is patented and can be used for protection of cultural heritage and in other sustainable and innovative constructions. Researchers are looking for partners active in the field of cultural heritage and innovative constructions to sign license agreements in Europe and beyond in order to use this new technology.
A Slovenian higher education and scientific research institution, with strong links with other research institutions and companies in Slovenia and abroad, has developed an innovative new connection element for connecting glass to timber elements.
The research field of timber-glass composites has become a dynamic segment of modern building construction where technical solutions are being developed and new applications defined. The existing timber-glass composites reach from timber-glass beams to timber-glass floor/roof panels and also to timber-glass wall panels. These solutions are all meant for new structural elements. Another possible application could be the strengthening of existing timber structures, thus adding glass to existing structures and forming timber-glass composites. The motivation behind such an attempt is the possibility of a visually unnoticeable strengthening or stiffening measure due to the transparency of glass. Such a measure would be especially favorable for renovation purposes where the originality of the building elements needs to be preserved in the highest possible extent, either due to architectural heritage demands or even due to the individual requests of architects, owners or investors. The current state of the art for connecting timber and glass elements and forming composites is the usage of flexible silicone adhesives, semi-stiff adhesives like polyurethane or stiff adhesives like acrylate and epoxy. In the renovation sense the usage of adhesives is not preferred as such a measure is not reversible.
In order to join glass and timber with self-tapping screws, an additional structural element is needed to transfer the screw forces to the glass in a way that the stresses in the glass are held at reasonable levels. The new connection consists of the to-be connected glass and timber elements, an aluminum insertion (the aluminum connection element), an adhesive and self-tapping screws. The new aluminum connection element is attached to the glass element by means of adhesive materials. The invention was developed with the focus on providing a connection with sufficient load-bearing capacity and stiffness, so that a glass element could be attached to a timber element, thus forming a composite timber-glass element. This assumption holds if relatively stiff adhesives are being employed. Although, the connection can also be used for ordinary glass usage (in the sense of glass used for façades, windows etc.) if flexible adhesives are used for bonding the aluminum insertion to the glass element. In this case the connection has the capability to ensure that the glass element can expand/shrink due to different temperatures and that almost no loads are shared to the glass element from the timber element.
The aluminum connection element has a body that includes a first portion and a second portion. Both portions have the shape of a cylinder. The first portion is configured to be inserted into a hole of the glass element. Adhesive material is deposited between the outer surface of the second portion of the aluminum connection element body and the glass element air side surface. Adhesive material is also deposited between the first portion of the body of the connection element and the inner surface of the hole of the glass element. The aluminum connection element has also through holes, which are configured to receive self-tapping screws, that are screwed through the aluminum connection element into the timber element. The glass product can be prefabricated in a factory by attaching the aluminum connection element to the glass element. This grade of prefabrication allows the attachment of the glass element to the timber element at the construction site only by installing the self-tapping screws.
Researchers are looking for partners in the field of cultural heritage and innovative constructions to sign license agreements in EU and beyond.
Compared to the state of the art the innovation has many advantages.
• The invention differs because there is no gap between the glass and wooden element. This is a unique innovation since the gap eliminates the friction between the wooden and glass element.
• The invention has a minimum effect on the appearance of the timber element and it has a relatively high strength and stiffness.
• It allows the possibility of using two different adhesives in one connection at the same time (one for bonding the aluminium insertion to the air/tin glass side and one for bonding the aluminium insertion to the glass hole surface).
• It offers a simple installation of the glass element on the building site, it is not limited with the demand for healthy timber outer parts (which are required for adhesive bonding).
Researchers are seeking reliable partners active in the field of cultural heritage and innovative constructions to sign license agreement in EU and beyond for using this unique technology.