Architects and engineers face new challenges due to the changing climate, new engineered wood products, and the need to make buildings more energy efficient. Historically we have been able to rely on years of experience to design safe and durable wood buildings.
However, the timber available from forests has changed, leading to innovations in engineered wood products. These products need to have their moisture properties characterized and accounted for in design. Similarly, the climate is changing, so we can no longer rely on older rules of thumb for design in a particular region. Design tools are needed to be able to assess the durability of wood buildings under these new conditions and the requirements for energy-efficiency.
FPL researchers have measured the moisture properties of cross-laminated timber (CLT), a newer mass timber panel, and validated that computer design tools provide realistic results for CLT. Further, we want buildings to be able to dry out when they get wet, so they remain safe and durable. FPL researchers have suggested new modeling methods which help predict drying. This is all part of the ongoing work to ensure design tools provide results that are useful for the next generation of safe and durable wood structures.