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Investigation Reveals Cause Of CLT Panel Failure At OSU

Back in March of this year, a cross-laminated timber panel failed during construction of a new campus building at Oregon State University (OSU), giving way between the second and third stories. Construction was halted.

The university hired an engineering firm to determine why the 4-by-20-foot CLT panel failed. The panel, made up of five layers of 2-by-6 boards glued together at right angles, came crashing down after it delaminated at one end. No one was injured.

The engineering firm, along with panel maker D.R. Johnson, the general contractor, and the APA – The Engineered Wood Association, determined for a brief period of time D.R. Johnson used pre-heated wood materials – prior to these materials receiving adhesive and being pressed into CLT panels. This caused premature curing of the adhesive and resulted in poor bonding, causing the delamination.

This practice has been halted. Since that time, construction has resumed.

CLT can be used to construct buildings of equal strength and fire-resistance as those made of steel and concrete. It has fueled the passions of architects and environmentalists, who believe it to be a much greener method for housing the world’s growing population.

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