The use of timber–concrete composite (TCC) bridges in the United States dates back to approximately 1924 when the first bridge was constructed. Since then a large number of bridges have been built, of which more than 1,400 remain in service. The oldest bridges still in service are now more than 84 years old and predominately consist of two different TCC systems. The first system is a slab-type system that includes a longitudinal nail-laminated deck composite with a concrete deck top layer. The second system is a stringer system that includes either sawn timber or glulam stringers supporting a concrete deck top layer. The records indicate that most of the TCC highway bridges were constructed during the period of 1930–1960. The study presented in this paper discusses the experience and per-formance of these bridge systems in the US. The analysis is based on a review of the relevant literature and databases complemented with field inspections conducted within various research projects. Along with this review, a historical overview of the codes and guidelines available for the design of TCC bridges in the US is also included. The analysis undertaken showed that TCC bridges are an effective and durable design alternative for highway bridges once they have shown a high performance level, in some situations after more than 80 years in service with a low maintenance level.
Strength parameters for fasteners determined in accordance with the methods prescribed for the European CE-marking leads to quite different values for seemingly similar products from different manufactures. The results are hardly repeatable, to some extent due to difficulties in selecting representative timber samples for the testing. Beside this uncertainty, the declared values available to the designer concerns only structural timber, so no strength parameters are available for common engineered wood products such as LVL or plywood
Project contact is Peter Dusicka at Portland State University
The urgency in increasing growth in densely populated urban areas, reducing the carbon footprint of new buildings, and targeting rapid return to occupancy following disastrous earthquakes has created a need to reexamine the structural systems of mid- to high-rise buildings. To address these sustainability and seismic resiliency needs, the objective of this research is to enable an all-timber material system in a way that will include architectural as well as structural considerations. Utilization of mass timber is societally important in providing buildings that store, instead of generate, carbon and increase the economic opportunity for depressed timber-producing regions of the country. This research will focus on buildings with core walls because those building types are some of the most common for contemporary urban mid- to high-rise construction. The open floor layout will allow for commercial and mixed-use occupancies, but also will contain significant technical knowledge gaps hindering their implementation with mass timber. The research plan has been formulated to fill these gaps by: (1) developing suitable mid- to high-rise archetypes with input from multiple stakeholders, (2) conducting parametric system-level seismic performance investigations, (3) developing new critical components, (4) validating the performance with large-scale experimentation, and (5) bridging the industry information gaps by incorporating teaching modules within an existing educational and outreach framework. Situated in the heart of a timber-producing region, the multi-disciplinary team will utilize the local design professional community with timber experience and Portland State University's recently implemented Green Building Scholars program to deliver technical outcomes that directly impact the surrounding environment.
Research outcomes will advance knowledge at the system performance level as well as at the critical component level. The investigated building system will incorporate cross laminated timber cores, floors, and glulam structural members. Using mass timber will present challenges in effectively achieving the goal of desirable seismic performance, especially seismic resiliency. These challenges will be addressed at the system level by a unique combination of core rocking combined with beam and floor interaction to achieve non-linear elastic behavior. This system behavior will eliminate the need for post-tensioning to achieve re-centering, but will introduce new parameters that can directly influence the lateral behavior. This research will study the effects of these parameters on the overall building behavior and will develop a methodology in which designers could use these parameters to strategically control the building seismic response. These key parameters will be investigated using parametric numerical analyses as well as large-scale, sub-system experimentation. One of the critical components of the system will be the hold-down, a device that connects the timber core to the foundation and provides hysteretic energy dissipation. Strength requirements and deformation demands in mid- to high-rise buildings, along with integration with mass timber, will necessitate the advancement of knowledge in developing this low-damage component. The investigated hold-down will have large deformation capability with readily replaceable parts. Moreover, the hold-down will have the potential to reduce strength of the component in a controlled and repeatable way at large deformations, while maintaining original strength at low deformations. This component characteristic can reduce the overall system overstrength, which in turn will have beneficial economic implications. Reducing the carbon footprint of new construction, linking rural and urban economies, and increasing the longevity of buildings in seismic zones are all goals that this mass timber research will advance and will be critical to the sustainable development of cities moving forward.
Project contact is Jianhui Zhou at the University of Northern British Columbia
Building acoustics has been identified as one of the key subjects for the success of mass timber in the multi-storey building markets. The project will investigate the acoustical performance of mass timber panels produced in British Columbia. The apparent sound transmission class (ASTC) and impact insulation class (AIIC) of bare mass timber elements as wall and/ or floor elements will be measured through a lab mock-up. It is expected that a database of the sound insulation performance of British Columbia mass timber products will be developed with guidance on optimal acoustical treatments to achieve different levels of performance.