A three-story mass timber building has been designed and constructed for structural testing at College of Forestry’s A.A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Lab, the home of the TallWood Design Institute.

This project, funded by the USDA Agricultural Research Service and led by associate professor of wood science and engineering Arijit Sinha, is testing innovative lateral force resisting systems (LFRS) comprised of newer mass timber products and different energy dissipation mechanisms. These LFRS represent a suite of resilient design techniques that can localize damage in special hardware designed to dissipate energy during an earthquake or similar disturbance. The end product is a building that is potentially more resilient to natural disasters than conventional construction.

The mass timber building, constructed by Fortis Construction Inc. and spanning 40’-x-40′ will be tested in multiple phases, with each stage utilizing different LFRS in terms of design and materials:

  1. Phase 1: The first phase will involve testing a 30-foot post-tensioned self-centering shear wall made from a mass plywood panel (MPP) with U-shaped flexural plates (UFP) as the special energy dissipating hardware. 
  2. The project’s second phase will involve testing an MPP rocking “spine” with buckling restrained braces (BRBs) used for energy dissipation.
  3. Phase 3 will introduce a new mass timber panel product, yet to hit the market, as part of post-tensioned, self-centering shear walls with UFP.

All mass timber products used in the building are manufactured in Oregon with Oregon fiber. Beams and columns are Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) manufactured by Boise Cascade, while the floors and walls are Mass Plywood Panels (MPP) manufactured by Freres Lumber. Both these products are made with Douglas-fir. Simpson StrongTie provided a majority of the connections in the building.

This project is a collaboration between research faculty in the OSU department of wood science and engineering, OSU School of Civil and Construction Engineering, and TallWood Design Institute.

For more information about this project, visit the Innovative Lateral Systems website, or contact the principal investigator Arijit Sinha at arijit.sinha@oregonstate.edu, or TDI’s outreach coordinator, Evan Schmidt, at evan.schmidt@oregonstate.edu.

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