SAN DIEGO  - Katerra, a construction startup investing heavily in cross-laminated timber (CLT) construction material completed full-scale validation of a new CLT seismic shear wall.
 
The successful test took place on the world’s largest outdoor shake table, at the University of California San Diego.
 
This first of its kind research project in the U.S. was reported July 13 at Woodworking Network, and was covered during a presentation at the Leadership Forum July 18 by Todd Black, manager of CLT products for DR Johnson Lumber. 
 

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Katerra's wall system was tested at three different intensities -- medium, large, and extreme (8.0+). The wall system achieves its seismic resistance through rocking mechanisms placed along the base of each CLT panel, allowing the building to absorb energy and flex horizontally under load.

 
The results showed that: 
  • Under medium intensity the system experienced no damage
  • Under large and extreme intensity, damage occurred, but only at the connection devices
Collectively, the CLT performed as well as steel or concrete. However, in the event of an earthquake, Katerra’s wall system allows the damaged connection devices on the building to be pulled out and replaced, often within just hours, rather than scrapping the whole structure – something not possible with steel or concrete.