Experimental and Finite Element (FE) modelling of timber fencing for benchmarking novel composite fencing

Adeayo Sotayo, Sarah Green, Geoffrey John Turvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Timber is a widely used composite material in structural load-bearing applications because of its good mechanical properties. However, with global forest loss occurring at a high rate, mainly due to the timber trade, and deforestation accounting for about 12% of global CO2 emissions, there is an increasing demand for alternative structural materials with a lower carbon footprint to mitigate climate change. This has led to an increased interest in the use of recycled materials for the development of novel structural composites.

This paper describes an investigation of the structural load-deformation behaviour of a typical post and rail type fence fabricated from timber sections – the target application for replacement with alternative novel and lower carbon footprint composite materials/components.

The post and rail fence is a two-bay frame comprised of three posts and two rails. Prior to testing the frame, three-point bending tests were carried out on the ungraded timber posts and rails to determine their longitudinal elastic flexural moduli. Tip-loaded cantilever bending tests were also carried out to determine the semi-rigid rotational stiffness of the bolted joint at the base of the posts. Using the geometry, moduli and stiffness results, Finite Element (FE) analyses were carried out using ANSYS software to investigate the structural behaviour of the timber post and rail fence.

The FE results were compared with the experimental results and shown to be in good agreement. As there are no structural load-bearing standards for agricultural fencing, the experimental and FE timber fencing results provide useful benchmarks for assessing the structural stiffness of novel recycled composite materials and components presently under development for fencing applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-55
Number of pages12
JournalComposite Structures
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2016

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