Cross-laminated timber (CLT) has been widely discussed as a relevant industrialized construction solution. Numerous publications have considered CLT as a structural wood-based panel, but other documents have mentioned it as a building or even a construction system. Many authors address its application in multistory buildings, although single-family houses and lower building applications have become desirable topics as well. Given these gaps, this review study addresses a systematic method to evince the functions of cross-laminated timber in construction. The elucidation and discussion were led by technical and scientific contents through publications present in scientific websites and the Google web search engine. Intricate perceptions about the knowledge and reference of CLT functions were identified. From prospections, it was possible to state that CLT is a timber-forest product created in Europe, whose function acts as a structural composite panel of the engineered wood product category. However, CLT has been mentioned by many publications as a building or a construction system. Suggestions were raised to clarify to all readers with respect to misconceptions, and elucidate the construction systems capable of using it as the main resource. Discussions evinced the characteristics and potentials of this wood product. Even with its increasing application in tall buildings, the commercial application of CLT in low-rise buildings may be boosted by the possibility of large-scale production of industrialized houses.
This paper highlights research results from a joint effort between the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) in the United States of America (USA) and the University of Coimbra (UC) in Portugal (PT). The main objective is the development of a Timber-Concrete Composite system (TCC) that utilizes precast concrete deck panels that accelerate construction times and can easily be removed to facilitate bridge repair/rehabilitation efforts and reuse options. The research is focused on various critical aspects such as the type of interconnection between the concrete deck and the glued laminated timber beams or the interconnection between the precast concrete deck panels. Several practical requirements were addressed that are important to the bridge industry in Portugal and in the USA, such as: accelerated bridge construction time, cost-competitiveness with existing bridge solutions, and eliminating the need for specialized labour skills.
Portuguese forests have changed in recent years. These changes were mainly boosted by the wildfires that affected a significant percentage of the softwood area. Data from 2015, conveyed by the Portuguese Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests, indicates that hardwoods occupy 70% of the Portuguese forest area. This paper presents the Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon R. Br.) species potential, focusing on construction applications, based on recent studies performed at the University of Coimbra and SerQ—Forest Innovation and Competences Center. The valuation of Blackwood for structural applications has been considered through the non-destructive and destructive assessment of their mechanical properties as sawn wood. Their potential was also assessed for a more technologically engineered wood product, the glulam. The dynamic modulus of elasticity (MOE) was estimated through the Longitudinal Vibration Method (LVM) and the Transformed Section Method (TSM); the static MOE and bending strength were assessed through a four-point bending test. Agreement was obtained between both approaches. Sawn Portuguese Blackwood showed a density of 647 kg/m3, 13,900 MPa of MOE and a bending strength of 65 MPa (mean values). The glulam beams fabricated with this raw material had improved properties relative to sawn wood, most obviously concerning the bending strength, with an improvement of 29%. This proves the significant ability and potential of these species to be used in construction products with structural purposes like sawn wood and glulam.
Glued laminated timber (glulam) is a wood-based product with frequent use in timber construction. Maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Ait.) is a species suitable for glulam production and is available with abundance in Portuguese forests. This study assessed the influence of the phase in which the preservative treatment is applied in the surface bonding performance. Several elements were produced considering different treatment scenarios: timber without treatment, timber treated before gluing, and timber treated after gluing. The bonding quality was tested by both shear strength and delamination tests, following the indications given in EN 14080 (2013). Glulam elements treated after gluing (TAG) presented less delamination when compared with the ones treated before gluing (TBG). However, TBG elements presented higher shear strength values than TAG elements. Despite the recorded differences, all the considered sets performed adequately both for delamination and shear strength tests.
Timber-concrete composite (TCC) solutions are not a novelty. They were scientifically referred to at the beginning of the 20th century and they have proven their value in recent decades. Regarding a TCC floor at the design stage, there are some assumptions, at the standard level, concerning the action of concentrated loads which may be far from reality, specifically those associating the entire load to the beam over which it is applied. This naturally oversizes the beam and affects how the load is distributed transversally, affecting the TCC solution economically and mechanically. Efforts have been made to clarify how concentrated loads are distributed, in the transverse direction, on TCC floors. Real-scale floor specimens were produced and tested subjected to concentrated (point and line) loads. Moreover, a Finite Element (FE)-based model was developed and validated and the results were collected. These results show that the “loaded beam” can receive less than 50% of the concentrated point load (when concerning the inner beams of a medium-span floor, 4.00 m). Aiming at reproducing these findings on the design of these floors, a simplified equation to predict the percentage of load received by each beam as a function of the floor span, the transversal position of the beam, and the thickness of the concrete layer was suggested.