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Constructing mass timber buildings to withstand Seattle-area earthquakes

Construction of a wooden roof trussA team of University of Washington researchers recently tested whether a 10-story, timber constructed building could survive a simulated Seattle-area earthquake. The Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) TallWood project, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, is a collaborative effort between university researchers and engineering firms.

The exercise, which was the world’s tallest building to be tested on a shake table, is intended to pave the way for more widespread use of mass timber — layers of wood bonded together — to construct taller structures, particularly in earthquake-prone regions. The project included a unique rocking wall system designed designed to rock back and forth during a seismic event, thus enabling the structure to snap back into its original position with minimal damage.

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