This InfoNote summarizes recent research and work in progress. A significant amount of fire research has been conducted on mass timber over the last 10 years in Canada. This has supported the successful design and construction of numerous low-, mid-and even high-rise wood buildings. This has also fostered the introduction of new provisions into the National Building Code of Canada which has made wood and mass timber construction more accessible. However, the fire performance of these systems remains a concern for many potential occupants or owners of these buildings, not to mention building officials and fire departments. Research at FPInnovations continues to support designers and builders in the use of mass timber assemblies by ensuring fire safe designs.
As part of its research work on wood buildings, FPInnovations has recently launched a Design Guide for Timber-Concrete Composite Floors in Canada. This technique, far from being new, could prove to be a cost-competitive solution for floors with longer-span since the mechanical properties of the two materials act in complementarity. Timber-concrete systems consist of two distinct layers, a timber layer and a concrete layer (on top), joined together by shear connectors. The properties of both materials are then better exploited since tension forces from bending are mainly resisted by the timber, while compression forces from bending are resisted by the concrete. This guide, which contains numerous illustrations and formulas to help users better plan their projects, addresses many aspects of the design of timber-concrete composite floors, for example shear connection systems, ultimate limit state design, vibration and fire resistance of floors, and much more.
The fire resistance of cross-laminated timber (CLT) could be improved by treating the lamina with fire retardants. The major issues with this technology are the reduced bondability of the treated lamina with commercial adhesives. This study assessed several surface preparation methods that could improve the bondability and bond durability of fire-retardant treated wood with two commercial adhesives. Four surface preparation methods, including moisture/heat/pressure, surface planing, surface chemical treatment, and surface plasma treatment were assessed for their impact on the bondability and bond durability of lodgepole pine lamina. The block shear test results indicated that all surface preparation methods were somewhat effective in improving bond performance of fire-retardant treated wood compared to the untreated control wood samples, depending on the types of fire retardants and wood adhesives applied in the treatment process and bonding process. The selection of surface preparation, fire retardant, and wood adhesive should be considered interactively to obtain the best bond properties and fire performance. It may be possible to effectively bond the treated lamina with PUR adhesive without any additional surface preparation for the fire retardant used in the treatment at FPInnovations.
This paper presents an experimental evaluation of the fire resistance of glued-in rod timber joints using epoxy resin, with and without modification. A heat-resistant modified resin was designed by adding inorganic additives into the epoxy resin, aiming to improve the heat resistance. Joints that were made using the modified epoxy resin at room temperature showed a bearing capacity comparable to those with commercial epoxy resin. Twenty-one joint specimens with the modified epoxy resin and six with a commercial epoxy resin were tested in a fire furnace to evaluate the fire resistance. The main failure mode was the pull-out of the rod, which is typical in fire tests of this type of joints. As to the effects of the test parameters, this study considered the effects of adhesive types, sectional sizes, stress levels, and fireproof coatings. The test results showed that the fire resistance period of a joint can be evidently improved by modifying the resin and using the fireproof coating, as the improvements reached 73% and 35%, respectively, compared with the joint specimens with commercial epoxy resin. It was also found that, for all specimens, the fire resistance period decreased with an increase in the stress level and increased with an increase in the sectional sizes.
This project assesses the fire resistance of laminated timber structural systems as wall and floor assemblies. Full-scale tests were conducted to assess structural fire resistance and charring behaviour. This research could be used to expand current fire design provisions and support inclusion of these types of assemblies into Annex B of CSA O86.
The objective of this work is to generate fire resistance data for NLT assemblies to address significant gaps in technical knowledge. This research will support designers and builders in the use of mass timber assemblies in larger and taller buildings, as well as provide scientific justification for Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) to review and accept this construction method. The intent is to demonstrate that NLT construction can meet or exceed NBCC fire safety requirements for use in buildings of mass timber construction.
The data could be used towards the inclusion of an NLT fire resistance calculation methodology into Annex B of CSA 086 - Engineering Design for Wood, which currently addresses only glue-laminated timber (GLT), structural composite lumber (SCL) and cross-laminated timber (CLT).