shake table demonstration

Researchers affiliated with the TallWood Design Institute tested a resilient, full-scale mass timber building constructed with cross-laminated timber (CLT) at the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure outdoor shake table facility at UC San Diego in July, collaborating with researchers of the NHERI TallWood Project.

The project tested a structure through a series of simulated earthquakes. Click here to see a video of one of the tests - a 1994 Northridge Earthquake simulation.

Along with other scenarios, testing of the two-story structure will measured how shear walls counter the lateral loads produced by wind and earthquakes, using a technology called the rocking wall system.

In the rocking wall system, shear walls are connected to a steel footing utilizing post-tensioned, self-centering rods that run up next to the cross-laminated timber (CLT) wall and special u-shaped brackets on the side. The rods allow the wall to rock laterally during an earthquake and snap back into its original upright position afterwards, minimizing the impact of these natural occurrences and the resulting structural damage to the building.

shake table test in San Diego, wooden walls

In addition, this project measured the performance of CLT composite floors used as a diaphragm.  A diaphragm is a structural element that transmits lateral loads to the vertical resisting elements of a structure, such as the shear walls mentioned above. There is very little information in the United States regarding use of CLT as a diaphragm. The results of the testing will provide benchmark data needed to develop building design guidelines for this structural use of CLT.

Arijit Sinha, associate professor of renewable materials with the Oregon State University Department of Wood Science and Engineering, and Andre Barbosa, assistant professor of structural engineering and Chris Higgins, professor of structural engineering with the OSU School of Civil and Construction Engineering, are leading the test of the building, which is 22 feet tall and has 20-by-60-foot CLT floors.

Collaborators for the current round of testing include: Katerra, Simpson Strong-Tie, Forest Products Laboratory, City of Springfield, OR; KPFF, DR Johnson Lumber Co., and the Softwood Lumber Board; as well as, Shiling Pei of the Colorado School of Mines, John van de Lindt of Colorado State University, Jeffery Berman of the University of Washington, Dan Dolan from Washington State University, James Ricles and Richard Sause from Lehigh University, and Keri Ryan from University of Nevada Reno.

The project is one in a series of activities that will culminate in a full-scale shake table test of a 10-story CLT building in 2020, the NHERI TallWood Project. It will be the largest to be tested at full scale anywhere in the world. The initiative involves a large consortium of US universities and private companies.

For more information about the project, visit NHERI @ UC San Diego.

 shake table demonstration closeup