The Tallwood House project was intended to advance the design and
manufacture of mass timber products in Canada and demonstrate
that mass timber is a viable structural option for mid-rise and
high-rise buildings. The use of mass timber and engineered wood
products in high-rise construction is becoming more common
around the world leading to a growing interest in the performance of
mass timber over time.
This report describes the performance of the mass timber structure
in Tallwood House, between September 2017 and August 2019,
based on measurements of the moisture content in the prefabricated
CLT floor panels and the displacement of the vertical structural
system. It is intended to initiate discussions on the performance of
mass timber structure elements during building occupancy and lead
to further research that can explore the influential factors.
his thesis discusses the possibilities of using glued laminated timber as load bearing structural elements in structures in close vicinity of saltwater. Glued laminated timber, also referred to as glulam, is a refined timber product constructed of timber lamellae that are glued together. The thesis contains a literature study and a case study that covers glulam beams in a pedestrian jetty located on the Swedish west coast. The literature study addresses wood in relation to moisture, the effects that salt may have on wood in a marine environment, wood decaying mechanisms and suitable wood preservatives to prevent decay. The literature study also covers glulam as a material and the possibilities of wood pressure impregnation. A method of estimating the service life of timber elements is also discussed.
The results of the literature study were applied in a case study of a specific case, to explore the possibility of replacing the current steel beams of the structure with glulam beams. From the case study, the strength and deflection of the prospective glulam beams were calculated. Service life of the prospective glulam beams was estimated based on the environment they would be exposed to. An analysis of the market for glulam products in Sweden was also performed to find out what dimensions and wood impregnation classes are available.
The results of the literature study show that glulam can be used as main load bearing elements in a marine environment, given that the structure is placed above sea level. Salt water does not affect the wood, rather it works as a wood preservative and gives some protection against rot. However, the structure is subjected to high moisture content and pressure impregnation is necessary. The high moisture content also affects the mechanical properties of the wood as the strength and stiffness of glulam decrease with increasing moisture content. Creep of the material is also affected as it increases with increased moisture content.
Regarding strength and deflection, the results of the case study show that glulam beams available on the Swedish market are of sufficient dimensions to be used. Regarding service life, the case study showed that the estimated service life of the glulam beams is only 19 years, but the service life required is 50 years. The current structure design with prospective glulam beams does not meet the requirements for durability of the material. However, suitable design changes regarding wood moisture protection could increase service life of the glulam beams.
Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is a type of mass timber panel used in floor, wall, and roof assemblies. An important consideration in design and construction of timber buildings is moisture durability. This study characterized the hygrothermal performance of CLT panels with laboratory measurements at multiple scales, field measurements, and modeling. The CLT panels consisted of five layers, four with spruce-pine-fir lumber and one with Douglas-fir lumber. Laboratory characterization involved measurements on small specimens that included material from only one or two layers and large specimens that included all five layers of the CLT panel. Water absorption was measured with panel specimens partially immersed in water, and a new method was developed where panels were exposed to ponded water on the top surface. This configuration gave a higher rate of water uptake than the partial immersion test. The rate of drying was much slower when the wetted surface was covered with an impermeable membrane. Measured hygrothermal properties were implemented in a one-dimensional transient hygrothermal model. Simulation of water uptake indicated that vapor diffusion had a significant contribution in parallel with liquid transport. A simple approximation for liquid transport coefficients, with identical coefficients for suction and redistribution, was adequate for simulating panel-scale wetting and drying. Finally, hygrothermal simulation of a CLT roof assembly that had been monitored in a companion field study showed agreement in most cases within the sensor uncertainty. Although the hygrothermal properties are particular to the wood species and CLT panels investigated here, the modeling approach is broadly applicable.
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.
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.
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.