Finite element analysis of alternative load paths in a platform-framed CLT building

Structures and buildings

Document identifier:
Access full text here:10.1680/jstbu.19.00136
Keyword: Engineering and Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Other Mechanical Engineering, Teknik och teknologier, Maskinteknik, Annan maskinteknik, Robustness, Disproportional collapse, Progressive collapse, Finite element analysis, Cross laminated timber, Alternative load paths, Träteknik, Wood Science and Engineering
Publication year: 2020
Relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
SDG 11 Sustainable cities and communitiesSDG 7 Affordable and clean energy
The SDG label(s) above have been assigned by


Multi-storey cross-laminated timber (CLT) buildings are a comparatively recent construction type. Knowledge concerning the performance of CLT buildings regarding the prevention of disproportionate collapse after unforeseeable events (e.g. accidents or acts of terrorism) is not as refined as that for concrete and steel buildings. In particular, alternative load paths (ALPs) after the removal of a wall panel in platform-framed variants have not yet been studied in detail. The goal of this work was therefore to study ALPs in CLT buildings. An eight-storey bay of an existing building was evaluated by conducting a non-linear static pushdown analysis in a finite element analysis on three representative storeys. The analyses accounted for single fastener behaviour, timber crushing, friction, brittle failure and large deformations. The force–deformation behaviours elicited under the pushdown analyses were subsequently inserted in a simplified dynamic model to evaluate the transient response of the entire bay. Four ALPs were identified in this case – shear resistance in the floor panels, arching action of the walls, catenary action in the floor panels and hanging action from the roof. The dynamic analysis did not show a collapse, unless the inter-compartment stiffness was significantly reduced. The resistance mechanisms are described in this paper, which may provide information for improved building design.


Johannes Albert Josef Huber

Luleå tekniska universitet; Träteknik
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Mats Ekevad

Luleå tekniska universitet; Träteknik
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Ulf Arne Girhammar

Luleå tekniska universitet; Träteknik
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Sven Berg

Luleå tekniska universitet; Träteknik
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