Structural plywood and structural LVL – Loaded Normal to the Face

Typical applications in which structural plywood is loaded normal to the face include flooring, cladding,

bridge decking, trafficable roofs, and signboards.

Section Properties – Standard Plywood Layups

Section properties for standard plywood constructions

loaded normal to the plane of the plywood panel, are

given with respect to the orientation of the plywood

face grain direction relative to the span direction. The

face veneer grain direction of structural plywood

panels usually runs in the panel length direction.

Thicker veneers, further from the panel neutral axis

and with grain direction parallel to span, will be the

major contributors to I, and therefore to both

bending strength and stiffness.

TABLE 5.3 gives section properties for plywood

loaded normal to the plane of the plywood

panel. These are for standard thicknesses and

constructions of structural plywood specified in

AS/NZS 2269 together with some additional

thicknesses made by some manufacturers. A

method for calculating the section modulus

(Z) and second moment of area (I), for

structural plywood loaded normal to the face,

is detailed in Appendix J of AS1720.1–1997

Timber Structures Code. This Appendix is

reprinted in Appendix 0

of this manual.

Load Distribution Width

When calculating strength and stiffness capacities for concentrated loads applied normal to the plywood

face, it is necessary to determine the distribution width of the concentrated load across the plywood

sheet width. Load distribution widths established from testing conducted by the EWPAA*, and used in

calculating EWPAA span/deflection tables for structural plywood flooring, are reproduced in TABLE 5.2.


Thickness (mm)


Distribution Width (mm)21

12 – 13


15 – 19


20 – 25




TABLE 5.2: Load Distribution Widths

*Other methods for establishing load distribution width are used, including formula based on the ratio of the I values for veneers parallel to

and perpendicular to the direction of the principal stress.

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