A Brief History of Wood Seismic Research:
From Light-framed Wood System to Mass Timber

NHERI Lehigh Seminar Series
November 29, 2017 | Noon - 1pm EST


Shiling Pei, PhD
Assistant Professor, Colorado School of Mines

Wood has thousands of years of history as a building material but has also been restricted by building codes and regulations following the industrial revolution. Wood building is viewed as a cost-effective, but less engineered system mainly for low-rise options. Mass timber construction is a relatively new way of utilizing wood material for modern, high performance buildings at both large and small scales. It gives rise to the currently trending conception of wooden sky-scrapers. This presentation will provide a brief history of wood seismic research, discuss the pros and cons of wood structural systems based on finding of past research efforts, and introduce the current trend of building with mass timber, including an ongoing NHERI TallWood Project to develop resilience-based seismic design.


Dr. Shiling Pei received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University in December 2007 and joined the faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Colorado School of Mines in Fall 2013. Before that, he worked as an Assistant Professor at South Dakota State University from 2010 to 2013. His research focused on multi-hazard mitigation through performance based engineering, numerical modeling of structural dynamic behavior, traditional and innovative timber systems, and large-scale dynamic testing. Dr. Pei received the 2012 ASCE Raymond C. Reese Research Prize for his work on seismic performance of mid-rise wood frame building. He is the author of the Seismic Analysis Package for Woodframe Structures (SAPWood) as part of the NSF (NEESR) funded NEESWood project, and served as one of the lead researchers in shake table testing of a full-scale 7-story wood-steel hybrid building at Japan’s E-defense shake table. Dr. Pei is the member of the damage assessment team for the 2011 Tuscaloosa and Joplin tornados, as well as the 2017 Hurricane Irma, focusing on residential building performances. He is currently leading an NSF funded six-university collaboration effort to develop seismic design methodology for resilient tall cross laminated timber (CLT) buildings. This project involves shake table testing of a 10-story full-scale tall wood building at NHERI@UCSD outdoor shake table planned in 2020. Dr. Pei currently serves as the Chair of the ASCE Wood Technical Administrative Committee overseeing four wood engineering related committees. He is also an associate editor of Journal of Structural Engineering. Dr. Pei is a registered Professional Engineer in State of California.

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