Northwestern Events Calendar


SPREE Seminar: Eric Landis

When: Wednesday, January 13, 2021
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Central

Where: Online
Webcast Link

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Tierney Acott   847.491.3257

Group: McCormick - Civil and Environmental Engineering

Category: Lectures & Meetings


Mass Timber and the Drive For Better Wood Mechanics

The recent rise in the use of mass timber as a primary structural system can be attributed to the confluence of two factors.  First, technologies for lateral load resistance have emerged that allow wood-based structures to be built far taller than previously practical.  Second, a push by building owners for architects to use materials with lower embodied energy has led many of them to wood.  A constant challenge in the wood products industry is rapidly qualifying new structural systems with a naturally high variability material such as wood.  The traditional approach has been to rely on statistical models based on testing of large sample sets.  More recently, however, new ways to represent the hierarchical structure of wood is allowing us to apply more rational and fundamental mechanistic approaches.  Presented here are brief review of developments in mass timber construction as well as a review of basic wood structure and the relevant aspects that influence structural properties.  The results of recent small scale fracture experiments will be used to show how we might quantify the effects of material morphology, and, when the information is combined with the appropriate computational model, how we might be able to reduce uncertainty in our performance predictions for wood-based structural systems.


Eric N. Landis is the Frank M. Taylor Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Maine. His research interests are in experimental mechanics and fracture, with particular focus on innovative laboratory techniques to solve problems of damage in cement-based and wood-based composite materials. He also dabbles in computational modeling, biomimetics, burrowing marine invertebrates, and other things he should probably keep his nose out of. He has published over 100 scientific papers, and he is co-author of the text Fracture and Fatigue of Wood. Prior to his academic career he spent several years in civil engineering consulting. At UMaine he has been honored for both his teaching and research. In 2002 he was presented with the UMaine Presidential Outstanding Teaching Award, in 2004 he was the Distinguished Maine Professor, and in 2006 he was the Carnegie Foundation Professor of the Year in Maine. He has a BS & PhD degrees in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin and Northwestern University, respectively, and he is a licensed Professional Engineer in Maine.

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