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Wood Innovations Grant - University of Utah

Chris Pantelides


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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 energy1 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 system2. The project objective is to showcase structural and economic benefits of using this mass timber bracing system for sustainable and resilient buildings.

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.

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.