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Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592
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Going Big with Mass Timber Protection

Untreated CLT samples exposed in a modified ground proximity test after approximately 6 months exposure. Pictured shelter tubes are of the subterranean termite, Reticulitermes spp. USDA Forest Service
Untreated CLT samples exposed in a modified ground proximity test after approximately 6 months exposure. Pictured shelter tubes are of the subterranean termite, Reticulitermes spp. USDA Forest Service
Snapshot: Researchers are leading efforts to better understand mass timber as a next generation building material and provide safe effective protection strategies to ensure public safety and responsible forest stewardship.
Summary:

Mass timber is a growing construction trend in North America and offers many unique opportunities for the North American forest economy. There are many forms of mass timber ranging from glued laminated beams used in heavy construction to cross laminated timber which provide feed stocks for tall wood buildings, all of which exhibit needs for additional care when exposed to excess moisture and/or ground contact. As with any wooden construction material, careful planning and design are fundamental to maximize service life and ensure safety of mass timber construction. Material durability has been identified as a key concern of early adopters and code specifiers. As construction trends flow into more subtropical regions, adequate information on the expected service life of mass timber and effective protection strategies are of the utmost importance. Forest Products Laboratory researchers are central to ongoing laboratory and field evaluations of mass timber durability, including termite resistance, fungal decay resistance, coatings for interior and exterior application, and potential treatment options for mass timber. Thus far, completed tests do not support the current thought of mass timber as a naturally durable material and future work will focus on finding safe, yet effective treatments that can maximize service life and minimize the actions of biodegradative organisms.
Princpal Investigator(s):
 Kirker, Grant T.
 Tang, Juliet
 Lebow, Stan T.
 Shelton, Thomas Guy
 Arango, Rachel
 Mankowski, Mark


Research Location:
  • Harrison Experimental Forest, Saucier, MS. Formosan Termite Research Facility, McNiell, MS.
  • USDA-FS Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, WI and Starkville, MS


External Partners:
  • Prof. J.J. Morrell - National Centre for Timber Durability and Design Life, University of the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, QLD, 4558 Australia.
  • Prof. Mojgan Nejad - Sustainable Biomaterials, Michigan State University
  • Profs. C. Elizabeth Stokes, Franca, S.F.A - Mississippi State University Dept of Sustainable Bioproducts

Fiscal Year: 2019
Highlight ID: 1332
 
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