Cross Laminated Timber: A Viable Alternative to Concrete

June 01, 2017

undefinedCross Laminated Timber is formed by bonding thin timber boards to one another, thereby creating layers. Unlike other engineered wood products such as glued laminated timber (GLULAM), each board is positioned perpendicular to the previous one, enabling the material to retain its shape better. Up to 11 layers are then coated in glue, hydraulically pressed and trimmed until a solid timber panel is formed.

The process is completed using computer guided saws and drills to carefully cut out the exact measurements of each architectural detail, from windows and doors to ventilation and plumbing openings, as well as passageways for electrical wiring.

Although the end result may sound like oversized plywood, the manufacturing process actually creates a product able to withstand the same pressure as prefabricated concrete. Furthermore, because CLT is designed and produced in a controlled environment, it takes less time and money to build and can achieve higher quality finishes.

 

CAN WOOD BE AS STRONG AS CONCRETE?

Can a tower in this region really be constructed entirely from wood – even wood endowed with super strength? Proponents explain that CLT panels are more closely related to concrete than timber frame and that CLT actually makes more sense than the construction methods whereby relatively small wooden beams are fashioned together using weaker materials like plywood and plasterboard.

CLT panels also work together to evenly distribute the building load, ensuring against progressive collapse and even enabling the building to remain standing if one area is destroyed by an unexpected disaster.

In fact, CLT has already proven its worth in several buildings up to nine stories tall, and developers in other hot climates, such as Australia, are eager to push the envelope even further in an effort to combine the advantages of CLA with a commitment to sustainable building.

 

Read more on the subject and explore the following topics in The Knowledge Issue of The Big 5 Hub.

GREEN BENEFITS

THE COUNTER-ARGUMENTS OF BUILDING WITH CLT 

ADDRESSING FIRE RISK

REACHING THE HEIGHTS

 

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