Sustainable solutions to building construction can help improve material utilization efficiency while providing economic development. This paper focuses on the development of low-grade hardwood CLT made with Yellow-Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) as an exemplar species. Analysis programs developed at Virginia Tech (CLT-VT) investigate whether design methods developed for softwood species are suitable for use with the mechanical properties of hardwoods to predict structural behaviour of CLT panels. The CLT-VT programs will include the analytical design methods defined in the CLT Handbook for floor/roof and wall systems, and beams/lintels . The study will assist in further development of a sustainable building product while adding value to under-utilized low-grade hardwood lumber and creating a road map for the production of CLT materials from most every domestic wood species available in the United States.
This study examines if Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) design methods approved for softwood species can be used with hardwood species, specifically low-grade hardwoods. Analytical predictions from researcher-generated computer programs will be compared to data from experimental evaluations of hardwood CLT. Successful completion will allow for an under-utilized timber resource to be incorporated into CLT production.
Cross-laminated timber (CLT) construction systems have been used commercially for over 20 years, mainly in Western Europe and North America. However, there has not been a report on the current status of CLT buildings. Deterioration of wooden buildings could result from a variety of causes and the life of the structures could be extended if periodic inspections were conducted. This research introduces a visual inspection methodology for assessing deterioration of CLT structures. The inspection methodology was tested in six CLT buildings in Austria. The methodology was proven to be effective in determining the current internal and external condition of the examined CLT structures. The oldest CLT structure inspected dates from 2004. The newest structure inspected was still under construction. The results of the application of the visual inspecting tool show that there was very little damage to the CLT structures. The main causes of damage came from exposure to water on the exterior of the buildings and poor control of humidity and temperature in indoor conditions. Architects who designed the inspected buildings were interviewed to cross validate the results of the visual inspection methodology. In addition, the interviews provided important insights related to the design, construction, and current conditions of the buildings. Furthermore, the architects also provided information regarding the main barriers and drivers that affect CLT construction in Austria.