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Interlocking cast glass components, Exploring a demountable dry-assembly structural glass system

F. Oikonomopouloua, T. Bristogiannia, L. Baroua, E. Jacobsa, G. Frigob, F.A. Veera, R. Nijssea

a Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands,
b Politecnico di Milano, Italy

This paper explores the potential of a novel, reversible all-glass system consisting of dryassembly, interlocking cast glass components. Owing to its interlocking geometry, the proposed system can attain the desired stiffness with the aid of minimal, if any, metal framing. The use of adhesives is circumvented in the system by employing a dry, colourless interlayer as an intermediate medium between the glass components. The interlayer can accommodate by deformation surface asperities; furthermore, it allows for an even stress distribution and for the eventual disassembly and reuse of the components. To validate the concept, various component geometries and interlocking mechanisms are developed. The interlocking forms are kiln cast in 1 : 2 scale and are comparatively assessed in terms of mechanical interlocking capacity, mass distribution, residual stress generation and ease of fabrication. In parallel, research is conducted on different materials for the dry, transparent interlayer. From the developed designs, osteomorphic blocks are selected as the most promising concept and are further assessed by numerical modelling to investigate the influence of the interlocking geometry to the overall structural performance. The results of the numerical model indicate that lower bricks are more susceptible to bending, whereas for higher brick variants the shear lock failure is more critical. To further validate the concept, two specimens of stacked glass columns comprising osteomorphic blocks and different interlayers are tested in compression until failure. The failure mode of the specimens suggests an increased fracture toughness of the proposed system compared to a monolithic variant, preventing cracks propagating from one brick to another and an inherent robustness The experiments also suggest that an interlayer of increased shear strength is recommended to prevent tearing under compression and thus avoiding direct glass-to-glass contact.

Key words: Cast glass, interlocking geometry, interlocking components, dry-assembly, glass structures, reversibility, glass connections, structural fragmentation