Testing and research different products and systems is integral to informing modern building codes. Here is some of the leading-edge research currently underway on the topic, building the evidence for wood’s safety and performance capabilities across a range of applications.

Full Scale Shake Table Testing of Resilient Mass Timber Lateral Systems

Dr. Shiling Pei of Colorado School of Mines shares his team’s findings on how a mass timber structure performed in a series of shake table tests. He argues that there is a unique opportunity to design a seismically resilient building with wood due to its flexibility and light-weight. This is in contrast to steel and concrete buildings which are difficult to repair following seismic events due to yielding (1:11). In one of the tests, you will see how a mass timber structure performs in 2 back-to-back earthquakes with the same force as the Northridge Earthquake. (Starting at 18:29)


Hybrid Steel + Timber Systems

Benton Johnson of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill gives a detailed look at mixing structural steel with mass timber plus some recent SOM research projects. SOM is leading a research project investigating the performance characteristics of a hybrid wood and concrete structural floor system that may offer owners, developers, architects and builders with a traditional flat plate construction alternative.

The investigation examined several key behaviors of the hybrid CLT and concrete floor system, including:

  • Effectiveness of the composite action
  • Two-way bending stiffness
  • Continuous beam behavior


Ballistic Performance of Cross Laminated Timber: Exploring CLT for Use in Temporary Military Structures

Dr. Kathryn Sanborn shares her research on how the US Military is exploring temporary mass timber structures for military housing. CLT is being considered by the military primarily because wood provides:

  • Increased force protection that tents and B-huts do not offer
  • Increased soldier comfort
  • Wood Prefabrication lends itself to rapid assembly and disassembly
  • Mass Timber Performance during blast and ballistics testing
  • Energy efficiency
  • Reusability and adaptability
  • Acoustic and seismic performance

Dr. Sanborn introduces the concept of Enhanced CLT or ECLT for military use and shows its effectiveness at stopping bullets (starting at 11:11).


Successful Blast Testing of Loaded Mass Timber Structures and … What’s Next

Stemming from the funding from a Wood Innovations Grant and the Forest Products Lab with matching funds from the Softwood Lumber Board, WoodWorks and Lendlease have been blast testing mass timber structures.

This is necessary research because there are very specific Code and Standards including the Unified Facilities Criteria that need to be addressed in order to use safely use timber in military construction. Lisa Podesto of Lendlease shares the results of 3 phases of testing 7 tests to successful blast testing of loaded mass timber structures.

Search our Mass Timber Research Library for the latest research on designing and building with mass timber. The library links to research publications from around the world on mass timber building materials and technology, structural systems, performance, and market adoption.

Up next

2018 Mass Timber Conference Lectures Complete Playlist