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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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Earthquake Resistant Cross Laminated Timber Shear Wall System

Shake table testing of CLT wall system. USDA Forest Service
Shake table testing of CLT wall system. USDA Forest Service
Snapshot: High and mid-rise wood building are only possible because of the development of an innovative mass timber product called Cross Laminated Timber (CLT). CLT has now been commonly accepted as a new-generation engineered wood product with great potential to expand the wood building market. With the introduction of CLT to the U.S. construction market and the current modern urbanization trend, many believe that it can serve as a very effective solution for the commercial and mixed-use building market in seismic regions. Critical to the expansion of CLT buildings into the seismic regions of the United States is research to support the creation and approval of a lateral force resisting design methodology for U.S. building codes.

CLT-constructed buildings offer a number of advantages such as the potential for mass production, prefabrication, speed of construction and sustainability as an environmentally friendly and renewable construction product. Good thermal insulation, acoustic performance, and fire ratings are some additional benefits of the building system. Despite these advantages, the lack of design approach is one of the challenges inhibiting widespread adoption of CLT in North America. The strongest interest in constructing mass timber building is in the western, seismic regions of the United States. In this region, most buildings are design using the equivalent lateral force method which relies on a specific set of seismic design parameters for the type building being constructed. Currently, the seismic design parameters for building constructed with CLT wall do not exist in the U.S. model building code. This research applied a systematic approach that integrates design method, experimental results, nonlinear static and dynamic analyses, and incorporates uncertainties. Various phases of the project consist of development of the archetypes, design methodology, cyclic and shake table testing, analytic modelling, and analyses.

Results from this research has led to specific code change proposals to reference standards that are used by the US model building code (International Building Code). Current proposals to the Building Seismic Safety Council (BSSC) of National Institute of Building Sciences, ASCE 7 Minimum Design Loads and Associated Criteria for Buildings and Other Structures, and Special Design Provisions for Wind and Seismic (SDPWS) are under review.
Princpal Investigator(s):
 Rammer, Douglas R.

Research Location:
  • Colorado State University
  • Forest Products Laboratory

External Partners:
  • American Wood Council
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Colorado State University
  • FP Innovations

Fiscal Year: 2019
Highlight ID: 1333
Related Research Emphasis Areas: