The intent of this project is to research evaluation and rehabilitation methods that are applicable to mass timber structures following a fire. This includes addressing both fire damage and water damage from sprinkler activation and/or the use of firefighting hoses. This report provides an overview of the type of damage that might be expected following a fire and methods that might reduce potential damage (including design elements and firefighting tactics). Current and existing rehabilitation methods for wood construction will be reviewed and their applicability to mass timber structures will be discussed. This includes the ability to conduct condition assessments and repairs on building elements that can be done in place. The overall objective is to reduce uncertainty related to mass timber construction, which ultimately would allow for more accurate risk evaluation by insurance companies.
Nationwide, bridges are deteriorating at a rate faster than they can be rehabilitated and maintained. This has resulted in a search for new methods to rehabilitate, repair, manage, and construct bridges. As a result, structural health monitoring and smart structure concepts have emerged to help improve bridge management. In the case of timber bridges, however, a limited amount of research as been conducted on long-term structural health monitoring solutions, and this is especially true in regards to historic covered timber bridges. To date, evaluation efforts of timber bridges have focused primarily on visual inspection data to determine the structural integrity of timber structures. To fill this research need and help improve timber bridge inspection and management strategies, a 5-year research plan to develop a smart timber bridge structure was undertaken. The overall goal of the 5-year plan was to develop a turnkey system to analyze, monitor, and report on the performance and condition of timber bridges. This report outlines one phase of the 5-year research plan and focuses on developing and attaching moisture sensors onto timber bridge components. The goal was to investigate the potential for sensor technologies to reliably monitor the in situ moisture content of the timber members in historic covered bridges, especially those recently rehabilitated with glulam materials. The timber-specific moisture sensors detailed in this report and the data collected from them will assist in advancing the smart timber bridge.
Mass timber and CLT construction offers many advantages, such as enhanced modularity, reduced construction schedules, improved thermal performance, and material sustainability. However, mass timber’s propensity to absorb moisture from the environment and the relative vapor impermeability of CLT panels introduces unique challenges when incorporated with the building enclosure. These challenges should be considered during design and construction phases to ensure long-term performance.
The VaproShield Mass Timber Building Enclosure Design Guideline covers the best practices for the design and construction of high-performance CLT wall and roof assemblies. RDH is the principal author and editor of the guide and within its capacity, we do not purport to endorse any specific material or technical matter within this guide.
International Nondestructive Testing and Evaluation of Wood Symposium
In this report, wooden members of sizes typically used in bridge construction are examined using x-ray computerized tomography (CT) to determine the presence of internal decay. This report is part of an overall study in which Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) glue-laminated (glulam) beams and solid sawn timbers were inoculated with brown rot fungus, Fomitopsis pinicola, and exposed to aboveground conditions approximately 25 miles (40 km) north of Gulfport, Mississippi, USA. The goal of the overall study is to develop interior decay within the test specimens and then identify and characterize the decay using a variety of nondestructive testing (NDT) techniques. One NDT technique used is x-ray CT. The pixel brightness (PB) of CT scan images is proportional to the specific gravity (SG) at that location; high SG materials appear brighter whereas low SG materials appear darker. The consumption of wood by fungus decreases the wood SG; however, fungal progression takes place in areas where sufficient moisture is present. The presence of moisture increases wood SG as detected by the CT scan, which masks the effect of the fungal decay, which is a common co-occurrence with many NDT techniques. To identify incipient decay, it is necessary to examine the ring structure both within and outside of the area of moisture. Quantifying the extent of the decay requires correlating the PB to known SG values for both dry wood and wood of varying moisture content. In this report, the relationship between wood SG, moisture content, and PB was quantified.