UMass Amherst Students Build Timber Grid Shell as Pop-up Exhibition on Fine Arts Center Plaza

UMass Amherst Students Build Timber Grid Shell as Pop-up Exhibition on Fine Arts Center Plaza

After a lot of work, the timber gridshell on the Fine Arts Center plaza is now finally up and open to the public. This multidisciplinary design-build project, led by BCT faculty Peggi Clouston and supported by BCT adjunct faculty John Fabel (and many others), involved many students from across UMass. You can find more information in the official press release (below) and on the accompanying website: AMHERST, Mass. – A massive and intricate wooden dome temporarily adorning the plaza of the Fine Arts Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst was engineered and constructed by UMass students over two semesters as part of a wood design studio class. Known in technical circles as a timber grid shell, the structure is the end product  of a course taught by Peggi Clouston, associate professor in the building and construction technology program at the university. Thirty feet in diameter, the 3,500-pound shell rises to 11 feet at the center. The 52 longest laths in the...
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Excitement builds about possibility of local wood use for Cross-Laminated Timber

Excitement builds about possibility of local wood use for Cross-Laminated Timber

The Republican and Masslive reported today about Peggi Clouston's recent grant: AMHERST - Peggi Clouston gets almost giddy when she talked about the cross laminated timber beam that was on display at the celebration of the new $52 million design building at the University of Massachusetts. The associate professor of environmental conservation at UMass is hoping that this new composite can use wood species from the Northeast that are not being used now. She and colleagues received a three-year $390,000 National Science Foundation grant to show that the new material can incorporate currently underused wood species and creating a market for local trees and opening jobs in rural communities. Read on... The announcement was also featured on NPR in Connecticut. Click below to listen to the story: http://cpa.ds.npr.org/wnpr/audio/2015/10/ps_151027_eri_wood_demand.mp3...
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Clouston and Schreyer awarded $390k NSF grant to study local CLT

Clouston and Schreyer awarded $390k NSF grant to study local CLT

Peggi Clouston (PI) has just been awarded a $390k grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study local Cross Laminated Timber (CLT). She will share this award with co-PIs Sanjay Arwade from CEE and Alexander Schreyer, also from BCT. This grant was issued through the NSF‐CMMI-Structural and Architectural Engineering (SAE) Program. The goal of the project is to verify that low-value lumber from local northeastern species is a structurally viable and safe material for incorporation into massive wood panel products, like Cross Laminated Timber (CLT). Creating this type of high-value market for low-value wood will help create green jobs in rural communities and spur economic development for the local forest industry, as well as  promote more sustainable building practices through increased use of wood in construction....
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Engineered wood in wind turbine blades: Focus of Clouston’s NSF-funded summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

Engineered wood in wind turbine blades: Focus of Clouston’s NSF-funded summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

The UMass Offshore Wind Energy Program hosted an NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) this summer. BCT Professor, Peggi Clouston, along with her PhD student, Rachel Koh from Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, mentored and supervised two of these students in research projects that explored the use of engineered wood laminates in offshore wind turbine blades. The students, Malia Charter from Smith College and Yashira Valentin Feliciano from University of Puerto Rico/Mayaguez, participated in hands-on research in Clouston’s lab, a three day field trip to Cape Cod and Boston, weekly seminars on professional development and on the state of the art in wind energy research. Malia’s research involved computer modeling turbine blades using the Numerical Manufacturing and Design tool produced by Sandia National Laboratory (SNL). Three major blade components: spar cap, skin, and shear web were volumetrically replaced with laminated veneer lumber composites. These four blades along with an entirely wooden blade were subjected to static and inertial loads through finite element...
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Eureka Girls Build and Test Bridges with BCT PhD Students

Eureka Girls Build and Test Bridges with BCT PhD Students

BCT Ph.D. Candidates Carl Fiocchi, Nariman Mostafavi, and Soroush Farzinmoghadam sponsored a session for “Eureka” which is on campus for the month of July. Eureka is a fantastic program where young women are exposed to opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math. In this session, “Why Buildings don’t Fall Down – Building with Macaroni” the girls, Eureka Scholars, viewed a presentation on buildings and bridges - elegant, strong, and safe; worked through a statics lecture solving a simple equilibrium problem, reviewed a vocabulary list of some structural terms and forces, and learned some of building techniques and strategies (with Macaroni). They then built a macaroni bridge and tested its response to greater and greater loads until finally the structures failed or in some cases until they started to fail as some girls wanted to keep their models. Some bridges were pretty darn robust --- check out the photos! You can find more images on our Facebook page....
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