Load Testing, Last Day To Enter Our Contest, And Happy Holidays!

With all of the frenzy that happens before (and during) the holidays, I won’t be doing full blog posts this or next week. But, I did want to remind you that this Thursday (12/20) is the last day to enter our “Creative Uses of Our Product” contest. We’ll post our five winners to the blog next week.

This week will be a short snapshot into what we were doing yesterday. We are always testing products and usually the only people who stop by to watch the tests besides the lab technicians are an R&D engineer and occasionally the product manager. As valuable as testing is, the simple day-to-day stuff just doesn’t generate much excitement – crushing bowling balls is fun and gets a crowd, but we save that for orientation classes.

Yesterday we drew a crowd of engineers interested in seeing just how high the load on the Simpson Strong-Tie® HGLS9 hanger could get with Strong-Drive® SDS screws. This was to compare with the allowable loads we have with the standard N54A (¼”x2½ long) nails that are currently used with this connector. A challenge in hanger tests that require a safety factor of 3 is preventing certain wood failures. To limit perpendicular to grain crushing of the joist at the point of applied load, we add wood or steel side plates to the beam and use a wide steel bearing plate to spread the load out. In this case, you can see the LVL side members that were glued and screwed to the glu-lam and the bearing plates for applying the load.

HGLS Test Setup 1
HGLS Test Setup 2
HGLS Wood Failure

And sometimes we still end up breaking the wood. While we achieved our target load, it is preferable to avoid these types of failures as they are not indicative of real world performance. The cracking sound it made was impressive, though.

Happy Holidays, and thank you for your continued participation in our Structural Engineering Blog. See you in the New Year!

– Paul

Paul McEntee

Author: Paul McEntee

A couple of years back we hosted a “Take your daughter or son to work day,” which was a great opportunity for our children to find out what their parents did. We had different activities for the kids to learn about careers and the importance of education in opening up career opportunities. People often ask me what I do for Simpson Strong-Tie and I sometimes laugh about how my son Ryan responded to a questionnaire he filled out that day:

Q.   What is your mom/dad's job?
A.   Goes and gets coffee and sits at his desk

Q.   What does your mom/dad actually do at work?
A.   Walks in the test lab and checks things

When I am not checking things in the lab or sitting at my desk drinking coffee, I manage Engineering Research and Development for Simpson Strong-Tie, focusing on new product development for connectors and lateral systems.

I graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and I am a licensed Civil and Structural Engineer in California. Prior to joining Simpson Strong-Tie, I worked for 10 years as a consulting structural engineer designing commercial, industrial, multi-family, mixed-use and retail projects. I was fortunate in those years to work at a great engineering firm that did a lot of everything. This allowed me to gain experience designing with wood, structural steel, concrete, concrete block and cold-formed steel as well as working on many seismic retrofits of historic unreinforced masonry buildings.