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.
Mass timber products are growing in popularity, particularly in multifamily residential dwellings, for which they are structurally well-suited. However, acoustic performance of these products has not been robustly tested, which can be a hindrance to building projects due to lack of code compliance or building performance with poor acoustics. The latter is particularly important since the sound transmission class (STC) rating—a single number used to characterize decibel attenuation—does not characterize an assembly in terms of which frequencies it blocks well or transmits. Wood does a good job of attenuating mid- to high-range frequencies, but not necessarily low ones, such as from a sub-woofer, so testing of assemblies is critical because it elicits their performance in terms of the entire range of frequencies, in addition to defining a single STC rating. This allows for adjustments to be made that balance the acoustic performance of the assembly – such as adding isolation through solutions like air space or concrete topping – with construction cost, sequencing and aesthetics. The other standard acoustic rating, impact insulation class (IIC), accounts for foot-fall and other impact noises and is another critical test for determining code compliance of floor assemblies.
A major problem in light-weight timber floors is their insufficient performance coping with impact noise in low frequencies. There are no prefabricated solutions available in Australia and New Zealand. To rectify this and enable the implementation of light-weight timber floors, a structural floor was designed and built in laminated veneer lumber (LVL). The floor was evaluated in a laboratory setting based on its behaviour and then modified with suspended ceilings and different floor toppings. Twenty-nine different floor compositions were tested. The bare floor could not reach the minimum requirement set by the Building Code of Australia (BCA) but with additional layers, a sufficient result of R'w+Ctr 53 dB and L’nT,w + CI 50 dB was reached. Doubling of the concrete mass added a marginal improvement. With concrete toppings and suspended ceiling it is possible to reach the goal in airborne and impact sound insulation. The best result was achieved by combining of additional mass and different construction layers.
The growing availability and code acceptance of mass timber—i.e., large solid wood panel products such as cross laminated timber (CLT) and nail-laminated timber (NLT)—for floor, wall and roof construction has given designers a low-carbon alternative to steel, concrete, and masonry for many applications. However, the use of mass timber in multi-family and commercial buildings presents unique acoustic challenges.
While laboratory measurements of the impact and airborne sound isolation of traditional building assemblies such as light wood-frame, steel and concrete are widely available, fewer resources exist that quantify the acoustic performance of mass timber assemblies. Additionally, one of the most desired aspects of mass timber construction is the ability to leave a building’s structure exposed as finish, which createsthe need for asymmetric assemblies. With careful design and detailing, mass timber buildings can meet the acoustic performance expectations of most building types.
This client report on the acoustics research component regarding sound insulation of elements and systems for mid-rise wood buildings is structured into a main part and four appendices. The main part outlines the background, main research considerations and summarizes conducted research and major outcomes briefly. It is structured like the Acoustics tasks in the Statement of Work of the Mid-rise Wood research project to identify accomplishments. For details on the research, testing and results, the main part references to four appendices that contain more details including test plans, test methods, specimen descriptions and all test data that is vetted so far.