Current projects

The Oregon State University College of Forestry’s Institute for Working Forest Landscapes (IWFL) has awarded four projects following the latest call for proposals by the IWFL. The wood building research projects were awarded approximately $550,000 in funding and will enhance understanding of wood building structures and continue collaborations with the OSU College of Engineering and the University of Oregon’s School of Architecture and Allied Arts.

Cross-Laminated Timber Fasteners Solutions for Tall Wood Buildings; Lead PI - Arijit Sinha

Constructing buildings with CLT requires development of novel panel attachment methods and mechanisms. Architects and engineers need to know the engineering strength properties of connected panels, especially in an earthquake prone area. This project will improve knowledge of three types of wall panel connections: wall-to-floor, wall-to-wall, and wall-to-foundation. Testing will determine the strength properties of metal connectors applied with different types and sizes of screw fasteners. The data will be used to develop a modeling tool that engineers can use when designing multi-story buildings to be constructed with CLT panels.

Behavior of CLT Diaphragm Panel-to-Panel Connections with Self-tapping Screws; Lead PI - Thomas Miller

Understanding how roof and floor systems (commonly called diaphragms by engineers) that are built from Pacific Northwest-sourced cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels perform in earthquake prone areas is a critical area of research. These building components are key to transferring normal and extreme event forces into walls and down to the foundation. The tests performed in this project will provide data on commonly used approaches to connecting CLT panels within a floor or roof space and the performance of associated screw fasteners. Structural engineers will directly benefit through improved modeling tools. A broader benefit may be increased confidence in the construction of taller wood buildings in communities at greater risk for earthquakes.

Structural Health Monitoring and Post-Occupancy Performance of Mass Timber Buildings; Lead PI - Mariapaola Riggio

A key question about new generation taller wood buildings is how they will perform over time in terms of durability and livability. This project will determine how best to measure these qualities by selecting sensors, determining testing and measurement protocols, and implementing testing assemblies in selected CLT buildings in Oregon. This project will make use of the new Peavy Hall under construction for the College of Forestry at Oregon State University as a “living” laboratory, educating future generations of students.

Fire performance of Douglas-fir CLT wall and floor assemblies made in Oregon; Lead PI - Lech Muszynski

An important area of concern for building code officials is fire safety, and there is very little data in the United States that documents the performance of CLT panels exposed to fire. This project documented the flammability of Douglas-fir and Spruce-pine-fir CLT panel assemblies produced in the U.S. tests were conducted on wall and floor panel assemblies with standard overlapping connections and produced with two different types of commonly-used adhesives. Sensors placed throughout the panels provided data about how fire affects the interior and exterior of a panel. A thermal imaging camera provided information on how the structural integrity of panels was affected by fire and fire suppression activities.

The Marbled Murrelet Project; Lead PI - Jim Rivers

In 2015 the Marbled Murrelet project was funded by the Oregon State Goverment under strong recommendations by timber industry interests. The study was undertaken to disentangle the respective impact of forest habitat degradation and a reduction in sea forage quality. The murrelet is a small seabird that nests in tall mature trees with large platform branches covered by moss and within 50 miles of the Pacific coast. The birds spend most of their life cycle in the ocean, but forage in the ocean and nest inland when breeding. Clear-cut forest harvest is known to degrade murrelet habitat and encourage murrelet predators, including corvids, hawks and eagles. The study involves intensive capture and monitoring at sea and forest nesting sites. The project was funded at $1.3 million each year and continues into 2020.