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Washington, D.C. — News articles and reports increasingly cite fire and seismic safety concerns related to wood design and construction with a call for more research. Think Wood, an industry-driven initiative that provides research and resources on the benefits of using softwood lumber in multifamily residential and non-residential building applications, is answering this call. The Think Wood Research Library, launched in 2017, is now stocked with nearly 900 unique pieces of research to aid architects, engineers and other industry professionals in building safe, high-performing buildings that can stand the test of time.

For example, research consistently shows that fire can be safely and effectively controlled in wood buildings when the proper protections are in place. The Think Wood Research Library offers several studies that address the fire performance of wood:

  • Glulam Connection Fire Test Summary Report — Demonstrates the fire resistance rating of “off-the-shelf” glulam beam-to-column connections in Type IV construction.
  • Fire Safety Summary: Fire Research Conducted for The Project on Mid-Rise Wood Construction — Provides technical data in the areas of fire safety, acoustics and building envelope performance of mid-rise (and taller) wood buildings.
  • Calculating the Fire Resistance of Exposed Wood Members — Provides guidance for designing wood members so that a sufficient cross section of wood remains to sustain design loads for the required duration of fire exposure.
  • Full Scale Tests on The Performance of Hybrid Timber Connections in Real Fires — Examines the fire behavior and resistance of unprotected hybrid connections involving a glulam timber beam and steel columns in typical fires.

“While the fire performance of mass timber has been studied for many years and is broadly accepted for prescriptive design uses, more industry research and resources are needed to evaluate the material’s structural fire safety when it is used for taller buildings or used with new mass timber technologies,” said David Barber, fire safety engineer and principal at Arup. “We are proud to have our Glulam Connection Fire Test Report hosted on the Think Wood Research Library to help bridge this knowledge gap.”

Seismic concerns pose another design challenge, particularly in active seismic regions of the United States. Many studies available in the Think Wood Research Library evaluate the seismic performance and resilience of wood buildings:

  • Seismic Performance of Wood Mid-Rise Structures — Summarizes the results of a state-of-the-art literature review of studies and surveys on seismic performance of mid-rise wood structures.
  • Mass Timber Rocking Panel Retrofit of a Four-Story Soft-Story Building With Full-Scale Shake Table Validation — Summarizes preliminary findings of a full-scale shake table test of a two-story mass timber building conducted in 2017.

In addition to fire and seismic resources, the Research Library houses case studies, reports and research papers on a range of other design topics – from acoustics and vibrations, to energy and environment, to building codes and cost.

Check out the full Think Wood Research Library at https://research.thinkwood.com/resource for more information on the latest advancements in wood’s performance and advantages in the built environment.

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