Blast resistance of timber structural elements: A state of the art review

Rodrigo Mourão*, Andreia Caçoilo, Filipe Teixeira-Dias, Arturo Montalva, Hollice Stone, Eric Jacques

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The response of structures subject to impulsive loads remains a field of intense research. While traditional construction materials, such as steel and concrete/masonry, have been the focus of most studies, further research on the performance of alternative materials for blast resistant applications has been driven by their growing use in sustainable construction. Over the last years, engineers have been re-evaluating the use of timber as a prime construction material for a range of building types, from small office to high-rise residential buildings. As a result, there is now a growing need to study the blast resistance of timber structures, as they may become potential targets of terrorist attacks or being placed in the blast-radius of other critical buildings. A review of existing research on the blast resistance of timber structures is presented and key factors on the blast analysis and design of such structures are discussed. Most of the research has been conducted on light-frame wood stud walls, glued- and cross-laminated timber, and addresses material properties under high strain rates, typical failure modes, behaviour of structural connections and retrofitting solutions. Failure modes are reported to be highly dependent on the element layout and manufacturing aspects, and dynamic increase factors for the modulus of elasticity and maximum strength in the ranges of [1.05, 1.43] and [1.14, 1.60], respectively, have been proposed for different timber elements. Mechanical connectors play a significant role in dissipating energy through plastic deformation, as the brittle nature of timber elements compromises the development of their full capacity. Regardless the element type, SDOF models can accurately predict the dynamic response as long as idealised boundary conditions can be considered. Overall, although a good amount of research is available, more extensive research is needed to guide the design and engineering practice and contribute to the development of design codes and testing standards for timber structures under blast loading.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages33
JournalInternational Journal of Protective Structures
Early online date30 May 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 May 2022


  • Blast loading
  • Light-frame wood
  • CLT
  • Glulam
  • Retrofitting
  • Connections
  • Modelling


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