Interlocking birch plywood structures

Chrysl A. Aranha*, Markus Hudert, Gerhard Fink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Interlocking Particle Structures (IPS) are geometrically stable assemblies, usually fabricated from plate type elements that are interconnected by slotted joints. IPS are demountable and their components have the potential to be used and reused in different structures and configurations. This paper explores the applicability of birch plywood panels, which are characterized by a high surface hardness, for this type of structural system. Experimental tests were conducted to determine the mechanical properties of birch plywood plates. Moreover, IPS connections with different geometrical properties were investigated for two different load exposures: bending and rotation. The characteristics under bending exposure are influenced by the orientation of the face-veneers. For the rotational load exposure, very small strength and stiffness properties have been identified. A linear elastic finite element model is presented that shows a wide agreement with the test results. The study serves as an initial probe into the performance of IPS structures at the component level. Various aspects that are relevant for the design of IPS, such as the assembly, the accuracy and challenges regarding digital fabrication, the durability, and the structural performance are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Space Structures
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jun 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Birch
  • design for disassembly
  • interlocking structures
  • plywood


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