Expanded Application Of Timber In High-Rise Construction

No matter the industry or specialized task, it will always be someone’s job to ensure that cutting-edge developments pass every conceivable test before becoming publicly-available. In the wood-based construction industry, all new products (preservatives, fasteners, panels, etc.) must be third-party tested and evaluated against certain important standards before going to market. 

According to a recent article from The Architect’s Newspaper, the applications of cross-laminated timber (CLT) could be expanding significantly in the coming years. The article states that CLT could eventually be used in mid-rise buildings as it grows from applications that are more commonly close to the ground, such as your typical residential two-story home. The article goes on to state that increased usage of CLT for new construction projects will be heavily based on the amount of work industry experts put into analyzing current construction codes. “With CLT, everything rotates like a rigid body under seismic stresses,” John van de Lindt, of Colorado State University, told  The Architect’s Newspaper. “Panels do not deform enough to dissipate energy and suck load right into them,” he added.

The construction of CLT requires the cutting of timber, accurate layout, adhesive application and then pressing the final product together. For me, it’s the adhesive aspect that has me the most interested. That’s because I have conducted bond integrity tests on new or existing wood-based products. According to the article, the use of adhesives sometimes includes either melamine urea-formaldehyde resins or polyurethane; the former can hardened when exposed to heat while the latter will soften. Short of a structure fire, the way that builders know of this behavior is through the testing.  The wood adhesive is rapidly developing new technology, and I am excited about the new adhesives that will be developed for CLT.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and building materials, wood decay and degradation, and wood science. Shupe worked as a professor and lab director at LSU for over 20 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, and Board Member for Gulf South Men and a Team Leader for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church.