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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter January 8, 2021

Voxel-based finite element modelling of wood elements based on spatial density and geometry data using computed tomography

  • Jens U. Hartig ORCID logo EMAIL logo , André Bieberle ORCID logo , Chris Engmann and Peer Haller
From the journal Holzforschung


In this paper, voxel-based finite element modelling based on spatial geometry and density data is applied to simulate the detailed stress and strain distribution in a large wood element. As example, a moulded wooden tube with a length of 3 m and a diameter of 0.3 m is examined. Gamma-ray computed tomography is used to obtain both, its actual geometric shape and spatial density distribution. Correlation functions (R2 ≈ 0.6) between density and elastic material properties are experimentally determined and serve as link for defining the non-uniform distribution of the material properties in the finite element model. Considering the geometric imperfections and spatial variation of the material properties, a detailed analysis of the stress and strain distribution of a wood element is performed. Additionally, a non-destructive axial compression test is applied on the wooden tube to analyse the load-bearing behaviour. By means of digital image correlation, the deformation of the surface is obtained, which also serves for validation of the finite element model in terms of strain distributions.

Corresponding author: Jens U. Hartig, Technische Universität Dresden, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Institute of Steel and Timber Construction, 01062Dresden, Germany, E-mail:


Some of the simulations were performed on the Bull HPC-Cluster (HRSK-II) at the Centre for Information Services and High Performance Computing (ZIH) of Technische Universität Dresden.

  1. Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  2. Research funding: None declared.

  3. Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding this article.


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Received: 2020-04-20
Accepted: 2020-12-03
Published Online: 2021-01-08
Published in Print: 2021-08-26

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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