Seismic properties

During an earthquake CLT is the right material, as the fibres adapt to the movement of the earthquake and comes back to its original shape. Under exceptional loads, such as from earthquakes, CLT and its connections flex and absorb energy from the vibrations, acting as a damper. This is in contrast to concrete and steel, which are more likely to fracture or disintegrate under these forces. The most robust study to date to quantify the seismic behaviour of CLT construction is the SOFIE project undertaken by the Trees and Timber Institute of Italy. A seven-storey structure was shown to be able to withstand significant sustained vibration, up to the strength of the Kobe earthquake of 1995 without any significant damage. Last year the U.S. Department of Defence subjected CLT and other materials to a series of live blast tests which showed in slow motion the way in which the timber bows and absorbs much of the energy of the blast, resulting in little permanent damage.

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