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Individual Highlight

Earthquake Resistant, Cross Laminated Timber Shear Wall System

Photo of Shake table testing of cross laminated timber wall system.Shake table testing of cross laminated timber wall system.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 is now 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 an 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.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Rammer, Douglas R. 
Research Station : Forest Products Laboratory (FPL)
Year : 2019
Highlight ID : 1607


Cross Laminated Timber (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 designed using the equivalent lateral force method which relies on a specific set of seismic design parameters for the type of building being constructed.  Currently, the seismic design parameters for buildings constructed with a 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 USDA Forest Service research has led to specific code change proposals to International Building Code reference standards that are used by the U.S. model building code. 

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • None
  • American Wood Council
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Colorado State University
  • FP Innovations