In episode 04 of The Structural Engineering Channel podcast, we talk with Mikhail Gershfeld, S.E, a Professional Practice Professor at Cal Poly, Pomona, CA. We talk about mass timber in structural engineering and some of the new and innovative things happening with this material that has been around for a very long time.
Here Are Some of the Questions Asked in this Episode:
- Tell us about how wood has been evolving in the last 20 years?
- The panels are new to the US but have been used in Europe extensively. Why is it taking longer for US to use them?
- How do these new panels offer aesthetic benefits?
- Can you talk about the environmental benefits of wood?
- How did the testing go with mass timber in regard to fire resistance, and is this a concern?
- What organizations can provide assistance with using Mass Timber on projects?
- Tell us about the new code changes that will take effect in 2021 with mass timber?
- Can you talk about manufacturing facilities for mass timber?
- What does the collaboration between the architect and engineer look like in regard to CLT?
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Mass Timber:
- The common terminology we use for wood today is mass timber and includes GLB, LVL, PSL beams and columns and CLT, NLT, DLT and MPP panels.
- These new panels offer exciting architectural and structural opportunities. Aesthetically they offer interiors and exteriors that are welcoming and people friendly.
- If you think of wood fiber as a structural material, the wood fiber has very good structural qualities. It actually has a higher strength to weight ratio than steel. The reason wood as a material is weaker is because it has various strength-reducing characteristics.
- We often refer to sustainable construction, but we need to be able to distinguish between sustainable and recyclable. You can be sustainable by recycling your material, or you can be sustainable by recreating your materials. With steel and concrete, you cannot really recreate your materials. Timber is like a crop. If you manage it properly, it becomes a renewable resource.
- There are valid concerns about wood being fire-resistant. We need to know that there’s a difference between light-frame construction and mass timber construction. There are also significant developments in fire-protection which enables us to protect material. During a fire outbreak, mass timber wood forms a protective chart around the wood that forms a protective insulating layer around it. As long as we account for charting, the wood can successfully withstand between 1 to 3 hours if properly protected.
- There are different types of support offered for those who are interested in pursuing the use of modern (Mass Timber) wood for their projects. Some examples are, TDI (TallWood Design Institute), Woodworks USA, and AWC (American Wood Council).
- The new code changes that will take effect in 2021 will allow mass timber buildings up to 18-story high. This may not be accepted by all municipalities and states, but 6 to 12 story buildings will certainly be allowed, which actually covers the highest market need.
- Some of the most amazing products are built and designed by architects and engineers exhibiting real collaboration.
More Details in This Episode…
In today’s elastic modulus segment, Mikhail Gershfeld, S.E provides some powerful career advice for all types of engineers.
About Mikhail Gershfeld, S.E.
Mikhail Gershfeld, S.E. is a Professional Practice Professor at Cal Poly Pomona. He has over 30 years years of experience of design, education and management experience. His present interest is in Design of Wood Structures and his efforts are focused on making it an integral part of Civil Engineering Education. He is presently the Chair of the Wood Education Institute, a start up organization developing online educational modules related to design of wood structures for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education programs. Mikhail is also served as the Chair at the ASCE Wood Education Committee. He has divested from all business activities and devoting his time to teaching. This is his passion and what he loves doing!
The Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) of ASCE
WCTE2020 – World Conference Timber Engineer
International Mass Timber Conference
Wood Education Institute
Mikhail Gershfeld, S.E LinkedIn Profile
TDI (TallWood Design Institute)
AWC (American Wood Council)
This episode is brought to you by CSI, Computers and Structures, Inc. which is recognized globally as the pioneering leader in software tools for structural and earthquake engineering. You can learn more about them at www.csiamerica.com
Please leave your comments or questions in the section below on mass timber in structural engineering.
To your success
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP & Matthew Picardal P.E.
Hosts of The Structural Engineering Channel