The ambient movement of three modern multi-storey timber buildings has been measured and used to determine modal properties. This information, obtained by a simple, unobtrusive series of tests, can give insights into the structural performance of these forms of building, as well as providing information for the design of future, taller timber buildings for dynamic loads. For two of the buildings, the natural frequency has been related to the lateral stiffness of the structure, and compared with that given by a simple calculation. In future tall timber buildings, a new design criterion is expected to become important: deflection and vibration serviceability under wind load. For multi-storey timber buildings there is currently no empirical basis to estimate damping for calculation of wind-induced vibration, and there is little information for stiffness under wind load. This study therefore presents a method to address those gaps in knowledge.
Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Construction Materials
Cross-laminated timber has, in the last 6 years, been used for the first time to form shear walls and cores in multi-storey buildings of seven storeys or more. Such buildings can have low mass in comparison to conventional structural forms. This low mass means that, as cross-laminated timber is used for taller buildings still, their dynamic movement under wind load is likely to be a key design parameter. An understanding of dynamic lateral stiffness and damping, which has so far been insufficiently researched, will be vital to the effective design for wind-induced vibration. In this study, an ambient vibration method is used to identify the dynamic properties of a seven-storey cross-laminated timber building in situ. The random decrement method is used, along with the Ibrahim time domain method, to extract the modal properties of the structure from the acceleration measured under ambient conditions. The results show that this output-only modal analysis method can be used to extract modal information from such a building, and that information is compared with a simple structural model. Measurements on two occasions during construction show the effect of non-structural elements on the modal properties of the structure.
Based on the experimental estimation of the key dynamic properties of a seven-storey building made entirely of cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels, the finite element (FE) model updating was performed. The dynamic properties were obtained from an input-output full-scale modal testing of the building in operation. The chosen parameters for the FE model updating allowed the consideration of the timber connections in a smeared sense. This approach led to an excellent match between the first six experimental and numerical modes of vibrations, despite spatial aliasing. Moreover, it allowed, together with the sensitivity analysis, to estimate the stiffness (affected by the connections) of the building structural elements. Thus, the study provides an insight into the as-built stiffness and modal properties of tall CLT building. This is valuable because of the currently limited knowledge about the dynamics of tall timber buildings under service loadings, especially because their design is predominantly governed by the wind-generated vibrations.