Although not yet seen as common practice, building with cross laminated timber (CLT) is gaining momentum in North America. Behind the scenes of the widely publicized project initiatives such as the Wood Innovation Design Centre Building in Canada and the recent U.S. Tall Wood Building Competition, substantial research, engineering, and development has been completed or is underway to enable the adoption of this innovative building system. This paper presents a brief overview of the current status of CLT building development in North America, highlighting some recent U.S. and Canadian research efforts related to CLT system performance, and identifies future CLT research directions based on the needs of the North American market. The majority of the research summarized herein is from a recent CLT research workshop in Madison, Wisconsin, USA, organized by the USDA Forest Products Laboratory. The opportunity and need for coordination in CLT research and development among the global timber engineering community are also highlighted in the conclusions of this paper.
Compared to light-frame wood shear walls, it is relatively difficult for panelized CLT shear walls to achieve similar levels of lateral deflection without paying special attention to design details, i.e., connections. A design lacking ductility or energy dissipating mechanism will result in high acceleration amplifications and excessive global overturning demands for multistory buildings, and even more so for tall wood buildings. Although a number of studies have been conducted on CLT shear walls and building assemblies since the 1990s, the wood design community’s understanding of the seismic behavior of panelized CLT systems is still in the learning phase, hence the impetus for this article and the tall CLT building workshop, which will be introduced herein. For example, there has been a recent trend in engineering to improve resiliency, which seeks to design a building system such that it can be restored to normal functionality sooner after an earthquake than previously possible, i.e., it is a resilient system. While various resilient lateral system concepts have been explored for concrete and steel construction, this concept has not yet been realized for multistory CLT systems. This forum article presents a review of past research developments on CLT as a lateral force-resisting system, the current trend toward design and construction of tall buildings with CLT worldwide, and attempts to summarize the societal needs and challenges in developing resilient CLT construction in regions of high seismicity in the United States.
This paper presents selected results of connector testing and wall testing which were part of a Forest Products Lab-funded project undertaken at Colorado State University in an effort to determine seismic performance factors for cross laminated timber (CLT) shear walls in the United States. Archetype development, which is required as part of the process, is also discussed. Connector tests were performed on generic angle brackets which were tested under shear and uplift and performed as expected with consistent nail withdrawal observed. Quasi-static cyclic tests were conducted on CLT shear walls to systematically investigate the effects of various parameters. Boundary constraints and gravity loading were both found to have a beneficial effect on the wall performance, i.e. higher strength and deformation capacity. Specific gravity also had a significant effect on wall behaviour while CLT thickness was less influential. Higher aspect ratio panels (4:1) demonstrated lower stiffness and substantially larger deformation capacity compared to moderate aspect ratio panels (2:1). However, based on the test results there is likely a lower bound of 2:1 for aspect ratio where it ceases to have any beneficial effect on wall behaviour. This is likely due to the transition from the dominant rocking behaviour to sliding behaviour.
The 11th Canadian Conference on Earthquake Engineering
July 21-24, 2015, Victoria, BC, Canada
This paper presents recent progress in the development of seismic performance factors for cross-laminated timber (CLT) systems in the United States. A brief overview of some of other systematic studies conducted in Europe, North America, and Japan is also provided. The FEMA P695 methodology is briefly described and selected results from connector testing and CLT wall testing are discussed. Shear and uplift tests were performed on generic angle brackets to quantify their behavior. CLT walls with these connectors were then tested investigate the influence of various parameters on wall component performance. The influential factors considered include boundary condition, gravity loading, CLT grade, panel thickness, and panel aspect ratio (height:length). Results indicate that boundary condition and gravity loading have beneficial effect on strength and stiffness of the CLT panels. CLT grade is an important parameter while CLT panel thickness only has a minimal influence on wall behavior. Higher aspect ratio (4:1) panels demonstrated less stiffness but considerably more ductility than the panels with lower aspect ratio (2:1). This paper also provides details on some ongoing efforts including additional tests planned, index buildings from which P-695 archetypes will be extracted, and nonlinear modeling for this project.
New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering Conference
April 27-29, 2017, Wellington, New Zealand
With global urbanization trends, the demands for tall residential and mixeduse buildings in the range of 8~20 stories are increasing. One new structural system in this height range are tall wood buildings which have been built in select locations around the world using a relatively new heavy timber structural material known as cross laminated timber (CLT). With its relatively light weight, there is consensus amongst the global wood seismic research and practitioner community that tall wood buildings have a substantial potential to become a key solution to building future seismically resilient cities. This paper introduces the NHERI Tallwood Project recentely funded by the U.S. National Science Fundation to develop and validate a seismic design methodology for tall wood buildings that incorporates high-performance structural and nonstructural systems and can quantitatively account for building resilience. This will be accomplished through a series of research tasks planned over a 4-year period. These tasks will include mechanistic modeling of tall wood buildings with several variants of post-tensioned rocking CLT wall systems, fragility modeling of structural and non-structural building components that affect resilience, fullscale biaxial testing of building sub-assembly systems, development of a resilience-based seismic design (RBSD) methodology, and finally a series of full-scale shaking table tests of a 10-story CLT building specimen to validate the proposed design. The project will deliver a new tall building type capable of transforming the urban building landscape by addressing urbanization demand while enhancing resilience and sustainability.
A collaborative project between the Forest Products Laboratory and Colorado State University to develop seismic performance factors for cross laminated timber is underway. The project requires application of the FEMA P-695 methodology, which is purposely robust and detailed and requires that the project team follow specific procedures. Failure to develop these seismic performance factors would severely limit the acceptance of the CLT building systems in the United States, underscoring the need for application of the FEMA P-695. The FEMA P-695 document, “Quantification of Building Seismic Performance Factors,” was published in 2009 and defines a number of steps, all of which will be taken to develop the seismic performance factors for seismic design of CLT buildings.
The objectives of this research are (1) to develop seismic performance factors for CLT subject to a peer review panel process that includes an independent peer review committee report and (2) to have the resulting seismic performance factors recognized in ASCE 7 Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures.
In order to cope with the speed of urbanization around the world especially in areas of high seismicity, researchers and engineers have always been investigating cost-effective building systems with high seismic performance. Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) is a wood based material that is suitable for tall building construction. However, the current CLT system is prone to connection damage in strong earthquakes due to the vast majority of the system ductility resides in connections. One solution is the concept of inter-story isolation to develop a potentially resilient system that can remain damage free during strong earthquakes. A generalized displacement-based design method was developed to design an inter-story isolation system for a tall wood building based on articulated damage expectations. A12-story CLT building with one isolation layer was used to illustrate the proposed design method. The building performance was validated through numerical simulation under different seismic hazard levels.
Second European Conference on Earthquake Engineering and Seismology
August 25-29, 2014, Istanbul, Turkey
Cross-laminated timber (CLT) as a structural system has not been fully introduced in European or North American building codes. One of the most important issues for designers of CLT structures in earthquake prone regions when equivalent static design procedure is used, are the values for the force modification factors (R-factors) for this structural system. Consequently, the objective of this study was to derive suitable ductility-based force modification factors (Rd-factors) for seismic design of CLT buildings for the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC). For that purpose, the six-storey NEESWood Capstone wood-frame building was redesigned as a CLT structure and was used as a reference symmetrical structure for the analyses. The same floor plan was used to develop models for ten and fifteen storey buildings. Non-linear analytical models of the buildings designed with different Rd-factors were developed using the SAPWood computer program. CLT walls were modelled using the output from mechanics models developed in Matlab that were verified against CLT wall tests conducted at FPInnovations. Two design methodologies for determining the CLT wall design resistance (to include and exclude the influence of the hold-downs), were used. To study the effects of fastener behaviour on the R-factors, three different fasteners (16d nails, 4x70mm and 5x90mm screws) used to connect the CLT walls, were used in the analyses. Each of the 3-D building models was subjected to a series of 22 bi-axial input earthquake motions suggested in the FEMA P-695 procedure. Based on the results, the fragility curves were developed for the analysed buildings. Results showed that an Rd-factor of 2.0 is appropriate conservative estimate for the symmetrical CLT buildings studied, for the chosen level of seismic performance.
This paper describes experiments conducted to develop a resilient lateral force resisting wall system that combines cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels with vertical post-tensioning (PT) to provide post-event re-centering. Supplemental mild steel U-shaped flexural plate devices (UFPs) are intended to yield under cyclic loading while the PT and CLT components remain undamaged until large inter-story drifts are experienced by the wall. The experiments were designed to explore various limit states for self-centering CLT (SC-CLT) walls, including their dependence on design variables and their impact on performance, and to investigate strength and stiffness degradation at large interstory drifts. It was found that the SC-CLT walls were able to re-center even after large drift cycles and the crushing of the CLT material was the governing limit sate for most specimens. A hierarchy of desirable limit states was identified consisting of UFP yielding, CLT splitting, PT yielding, and CLT crushing.
European experience shows that Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) can be competitive in mid-rise and high-rise buildings. Although this system has not been used to the same extent so far in North America, it can be viable wood structural solution for the shift towards sustainable densification of urban and suburban centers. For these reasons FPInnovations has undertaken a multi-disciplinary project on determining the performance of a typical CLT construction, including quantifying the seismic resistance and force modification factors for CLT buildings in Canada and the US.
In this report, a performance-based seismic design (PBSD) of a CLT building was conducted and the seismic response of the CLT building was compared to that of a wood-frame structure tested during the NEESWood project. A suitable force modification factors (R-factors) for CLT mid-rise buildings with different fasteners were recommended for seismic design in Canada and the US. The six-storey NEESWood Capstone building was redesigned as a CLT building using the PBSD procedure developed during the NEESWood project. The results from the quasi-static tests on CLT walls performed at FPInnovations were used as input information for modeling of the main load resisting elements of the structure, the CLT walls. Once the satisfactory design of the CLT mid-rise structure was established through PBSD, a force-based design was developed with varying R-factors and that design was compared to the PBSD result. In this way, suitable R-factors were calibrated so that they can yield equivalent seismic performance of the CLT building when designed using the traditional force-based design methods.
Based on the results of this study it is recommended that a value of Rd=2.5 and Ro=1.5 can be assigned for structures with symmetrical floor plans according to NBCC. In the US an R=4.5 can be used for symmetrical CLT structures designed according to ASCE7. These values can be assigned provided that the design values for CLT walls considered (and implemented in the material design standards) are similar to the values determined in this study using the kinematics model developed that includes the influence of the hold-downs in the CLT wall resistance. Design of the CLT building with those R-factors using the equivalent static procedures in the US and Canada will result in the CLT building having similar seismic performance to that of the tested wood-frame NEESWood building, which had only minor non-structural damage during a rare earthquake event.