American Hardwood Information Center

Smart, Cost-Effective, Treasured for Generations

Just ask the USDA Forest Service’s Forest Products Laboratory (FPL). Their researchers have been studying softwood Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) “from many angles, including fire performance, use in earthquake-prone regions, and the effects of moisture on CLT.

In 2016, the Forest Service Wood Innovations program initiated live blast testing of CLT. The objective of these studies was to demonstrate the capability of CLT structures to resist air blast loads.

  • Tests were performed on three structures, two stories high, each made of a different grade of CLT, and all including window and door openings.
  • The tests covered a spectrum of blast loads. Panel rupture was expected and observed, but the structures survived blasts with charges large enough to potentially cause lethal injuries. And the buildings remained intact and safe to enter.”

Going forward, the results of these, and other studies, “will be used to further expand the use of wood solutions for … blast-resistant construction. And information gathered will allow engineers to use mass timber solutions where they were not previously permitted, potentially increasing market share for wood-based materials.”

To learn more, visit the USDA Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory at www.fpl.fs.fed.us.

Photo courtesy of Structurlam

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