By Chris Pantelides | May 1, 2020

Wood Innovations Grant - University of Utah

Professors Chris P. Pantelides and Xuan Peter Zhu of the Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, were recently awarded a grant from the USDA Forest Service Wood Innovations Grant program for their project “BRB Braced Frames for Seismically Resilient Mass Timber Buildings”. The project is proposing a mass timber buckling-restrained braced frame as the lateral force resisting system to enhance the resilience of mass timber buildings. Constructed using wood generated from the national forest system, the mass timber buckling-restrained brace will be integrated with a mass timber frame for hysteretic energy[1] dissipation under earthquake or wind loads. The team will improve and optimize the design of a mass timber buckling-restrained braced frame using feedback from a real-time health monitoring system[2]. The project objective is to showcase structural and economic benefits of using this mass timber bracing system for sustainable and resilient buildings.

  1. [1] Hysteretic energy is the energy dissipated through inelastic deformations by components of a structure during an earthquake. It represents the ability of a structure to withstand an earthquake with damage directed to specific elements (in this case the T-BRB) without failure of the whole building.
  2. [2] Real-time health monitoring is a term that represents a non-destructive evaluation of the condition of a structure, in this case through ultrasound waves. What this means is that if a beam is cracking, the acoustic sensors attached to the beam will pick up the “noise” made by the beam and warn of impending failure.