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A cement and concrete industry publication

CCIP-031
Performance of Concrete Structures in Fire
Performance of Concrete
Performance of Concrete Structures in Fire
Structures in Fire
An in-depth publication on the behaviour of concrete in fire
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C.G. Bailey BEng PhD CEng FICE MIStructE MIFireE


This guide is intended to be of benefit as a reference Professor Colin Bailey is professor of Structural Engineering, and
G. A. Khoury BSc MSc PhD DIC EurIng CEng FIStructE FRAeS MINucE MIFireE
publication to structural design engineers, specialist fire Head of the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering
consultants, architects, approving bodies and clients. It at the University of Manchester. He is also acting Vice -President
goes into some depth on all aspects of the performance of and Dean for the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences.
concrete in fire. He is author of numerous papers on the fire safety engineering of
structures and has written 11 practical design guides in structural fire

C. Bailey
engineering which are recognised and used worldwide.

Professor Gabriel Alexander Khoury, is visiting Professor at


Imperial College London and Professor at Padua University Italy.

G. A. Khoury
He has held positions as Chairman of FIB International Committee
on “Fire Design of Concrete Structures” and Scientific Manager: EU
projects UPTUN and SafeT on tunnel fire safety. He is Director of
Fire Safety Design (UK & Sweden) and Chief Executive of London
Greenways. He is author of numerous papers on the effect of heat/
fire on concrete.

CCIP-031
Published February 2011
ISBN 978-1-904818-83-0
Price Group S
© MPA - The Concrete Centre

Riverside House, 4 Meadows Business Park,


Station Approach, Blackwater, Camberley, Surrey, GU17 9AB
Tel: +44 (0)1276 606 800
www.concretecentre.com

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A cement and concrete industry publication

Acknowledgements
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The Concrete Centre would like to acknowledge the two main authors, Colin Bailey and Gabriel Khoury for
writing this publication and also to Jenny Burridge and Ian Fletcher for their contribution to Chapter 7 and
Appendix A respectively.

Review of the publication was carried out by Members of the Concrete Fire Forum facilitated by The Concrete
Centre. The collation and coordination of the publication was carried out by Colin Bailey who arranged the
final text.

The copyright of British Standards extracts reproduced in this document is held by the British Standards
Institution (BSI). Permission to reproduce extracts from British Standards is granted by BSI under the terms of
Licence No: 2009RM010. No other use of this material is permitted. This publication is not intended to be a
replacement for the standard and may not reflect the most up-to-date status of the standard. British Standards can
be obtained in PDF or hard copy formats from the BSI online shop: http://shop.bsigroup.com or by contacting BSI
Customer Services for hard copies only: Tel: +44 (0)20 8996 9001, Email: cservices@bsigroup.com.

Published by MPA – The Concrete Centre


Riverside House, 4 Meadows Business Park, Station Approach, Blackwater, Camberley, Surrey GU17 9AB
Tel: +44 (0)1276 606800 Fax: +44 (0)1276 606801
www.concretecentre.com

CCIP-031
Published February 2011
ISBN 978-1-904818-83-0
Price Group S
© MPA - The Concrete Centre

Cement and Concrete Industry Publications (CCIP) are produced through an industry initiative to
publish technical guidance in support of concrete design and construction.

CCIP publications are available from the Concrete Bookshop at www.concretebookshop.com


Tel: +44 (0)7004 607777

All advice or information from MPA -The Concrete Centre is intended only for use in the UK by those who will evaluate the
significance and limitations of its contents and take responsibility for its use and application. No liability (including that
for negligence) for any loss resulting from such advice or information is accepted by Mineral Products Association or its
subcontractors, suppliers or advisors. Readers should note that the publications from MPA - The Concrete Centre are subject to
revision from time to time and should therefore ensure that they are in possession of the latest version.

Printed by Ruscombe Printing Ltd, Reading, UK.

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Performance of Concrete
Structures in Fire

Contents

Foreword iv
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Symbols and abbreviations vi


Glossary x
1. Introduction 1
2. Scope 2
3. Material behaviour 3
3.1 Material overview 3
3.2 Concrete performance 6
3.3 Temperature effects on concrete 7
3.4 Compressive strength of concrete 9
3.5 Modulus of elasticity 16
3.6 Stress–strain relationship of concrete 18
3.7 Strains during heating 23
3.8 Reinforcement 32
3.9 Thermal properties 37
4. Basic concepts of fire behaviour 46
4.1 Compartment fires 46
4.2 Fire resistance 51
4.3 Reaction to fire 54

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5. Protection and risks 55
5.1 Consideration of risk 55
5.2 Level of protection 56
5.3 Passive measures 57
5.4 Active measures 58
5.5 Structural fire engineering 60
6. Regulations, supporting documents and design codes 73
6.1 Building Regulations 73
6.2 The Construction Products Directive 77
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6.3 Eurocodes 78
6.4 British Standards 85
7. Design methods 89
7.1 Combined actions 90
7.2 Tabulated methods 93
7.3 Simplified calculation methods 105
7.4 Advanced calculation methods 111
7.5 Fire models 111
7.6 Thermal analysis 122
8. Spalling and its prevention 125
8.1 Definition of spalling 126
8.2 Consequences of spalling 126
8.3 Explosive spalling 127
8.4 Mechanisms of explosive spalling 131
8.5 Predicting explosive spalling 134
8.6 Preventing explosive spalling 136

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9. Tunnel fires 138
9.1 Tunnel design fires 138
9.2 Fire damage to concrete structures 140
9.3 Passive fire protection of tunnel linings 143
9.4 Thermal barriers 145
9.5 Polypropylene (PP) fibres 146
9.6 Road surface 147
10. Broader aspects of fire design 149
10.1 Fire-fighting arrangements 149
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10.2 Schools 150


10.3 Hospitals 150
10.4 Industrial buildings 151
10.5 Position of insurance companies 152
10.6 Ease of repairs 152
References 155
Appendix A: Fire tests 164
A1. Commissioning fire tests 164
A2. Standard fire resistance tests 165
A3. Small-scale tests 167
A4. Large-scale tests 169
Appendix B: Observations from real fires 184
B1. The World Trade Center, New York, USA 184
B2. The Windsor tower, Madrid, Spain 184
B3. The CESP fire, Sao Paulo, Brazil 187

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Foreword
The last (comprehensive publication) from the UK on concrete and fire was produced in
the 1970s(1). During the intervening period, ‘Fire Safety Design’ has become a discipline in
its own right, and a considerable amount of research has been carried out. New data has
been produced, new methodologies and numerical models developed, properties
discovered, and concrete mix design improved for better performance in fire.

In the UK, the first example of the application of structural fire engineering was following
the Great Fire of London in 1666, where control was introduced in the use of structural
materials for buildings and the spacing between buildings. This was the first example of
prescriptive rules for structural fire engineering, which is the method that is still extensively
followed by designers today. It is generally accepted that if the prescriptive rules are
followed then the fire resistance of a building or structure will be adequate. However, with
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the prescriptive rules there is no need to understand the true behaviour of structures in
fire. By understanding more fully the actual structural material being used, and the true
structural behaviour during a fire, safer and potentially more economical buildings and
structures can be designed and constructed. The prescriptive approach has consequently
led onto performance-based design that is now accepted in an increasing number of
countries including the UK and is reflected in the Eurocodes.

One of the earliest efforts in the UK to understand the behaviour of concrete in fire was
made by Lea and Stradling in 1920s(2,3). Since then, there has been extensive research on
the behaviour of concrete in fire, including testing of high-performance concrete and the
performance of concrete in tunnel fires. It has become clear that not all concretes behave
similarly in fire. The discovery in the early 1990s that the use of monofilament
polypropylene fibres would reduce or eliminate explosive spalling has been significant. The
science of material behaviour in fire is important and needs to be well understood by
designers.

Improvements in structural fire safety have led to significant positive implications in terms
of life-time costs and human safety. Structural fire safety has long been of great interest
among researchers, academics and practising engineers as well as users, owners and the
relevant authorities. The subject is challenging, not least because of the complex nature,
and behaviour, of concrete as a material during fire, and because of the nature of fire itself
which can involve rapid heating to 800–1000oC or more.

Concrete is non-combustible and also has a relatively low thermal conductivity and
diffusivity, such that heat flow into the inner regions of the structural element is relatively
slow and temperature rises are also slow. These properties make concrete an ideal
construction material providing inherent passive fire protection. In contrast, the use of
applied fire-proofing and sprinkler systems for other construction materials provides a less
robust fire protection system prone to incorrect installation or sprinkler malfunction.

iv

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This publication presents the latest guidance for the fire engineering of concrete to current
standards and codes of practice. Ultimately, application of this technology will lead to
improved concrete material performance and structural safety in fire.
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Symbols and abbreviations
Symbol Definition
Ac Cross-sectional area of concrete
Ad Design value of an accidental action; indirect action
Af Floor area of the compartment (m2)
Ah Area of horizontal openings in the roof (m2)
Aj The area of enclosure surface j (walls, ceiling or floor), excluding openings (m2)
a Axis distance from the nearest exposed surface to the centre of bar (tendon, wire)
am Average axis distance
As Area of reinforcement
As,req Area of reinforcement required
As′ Area of compression reinforcement
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As1 The part of the tension reinforcement in equilibrium with the concrete
compression block
As2 The part of the tension reinforcement in equilibrium with the compression
reinforcement
asd Axis distance from lateral surface of member to centre of bar
Asi The cross-sectional area of steel bar (tendon, wire)
At The total area of enclosure surface j (walls, ceiling or floor), including openings (m2)
Av Area of vertical openings in the facade (m2)
Aw Area of the ventilation opening (m2)
az The width of the damaged zone
b Minimum dimension of rectangular column or diameter of column
b Thermal property (J/m2s1/2K)
b′ Diameter of a circular column
bfi Effective width of the cross-section defined by the 500°C isotherm
bj The thermal property of the enclosure surface j (Table 7.18) (J/m2s1/2K)
bmin Minimum width of web in T, L or I beams
bw Width of web in T, L or I beams
c The specific heat of boundary of enclosure at ambient temperature (J/kgK)
cp Specific heat (J/kgK)
cp.peak Specific heat of concrete at 115oC
cp,θ Specific heat of dry concrete at temperature θ (J/kgK)
cnom Nominal cover
D Thermal diffusivity = λ/ρcp (m2/s)
dfi Effective depth of the cross-section defined by the 500°C isotherm
E Effect of actions
e Column load eccentricity
E value Modulus of elasticity of concrete

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Symbol Definition
Ed Design value of the effect of actions; Design value of the corresponding force or
moment for normal temperature design
Ed,fi Design effect of actions for the fire situation
Ep Design value of modulus of elasticity of prestressing steel
Ep,θ Modulus of elasticity of prestressing steel at temperature θ
Es Design value of modulus of elasticity of reinforcing steel
Es,θ Initial modulus of elasticity of reinforcing steel at temperature θ
Et,θ Tangent modulus of elasticity of reinforcing steel at temperature θ
fcd Design value of concrete compressive strength
fcd,fi(20) Design value of compression strength of concrete in the fire situation at 20°C
fck Characteristic cylinder strength of concrete at 28 days
fc,θ Compressive strength of concrete at temperature θ for a specified strain
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fck,t Characteristic tensile strength of concrete at 28 days


fck,t(θ) Characteristic tensile strength of concrete at temperature θ for a specified strain
fpp,θ Characteristic strength at the proportional limit for cold-worked (wires and
strands) and quenched and tempered (bars) prestressing steel at temperature θ
fpy,θ Characteristic maximum strength for cold-worked (wires and strands) and
quenched and tempered (bars) prestressing steel at temperature θ
fscd,fi(θm′) Design value of the compression reinforcement strength in the fire situation at
mean temperature θm′ in that layer
fsd Characteristic strength of the reinforcement at ambient temperature (MPa)
fsd,fi(θm) Design strength of the reinforcement at temperature θ (MPa)
fsd,fi(θm) Design value of the tension reinforcement strength in the fire situation at mean
temperature θm in that layer
fsp,θ Characteristic strength at the proportional limit for reinforcing steel at
temperature θ
fsy,θ Characteristic maximum strength for reinforcing steel at temperature θ
fyd Design yield strength of longitudinal reinforcement
fyk Characteristic yield strength of reinforcement
G Permanent action (dead load)
Gk Characteristic value of permanent action
H Height of the fire compartment (m)
h Height of ventilation opening (m)
heq Weighted average of window heights on all walls
hfi Effective height of the cross-section defined by the 500°C isotherm
hk Effective heat transfer coefficient (kW/m2K)
hs Slab thickness
i Radius of gyration
kb Conversion factor related to the thermal inertia of the enclosure (min.m2/MJ) see
Table 7.17
kc(θm) Reduction coefficient for concrete at point M

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Symbol Definition
kc,m Mean reduction factor
kc,t(θ) Coefficient for reduction of characteristic tensile strength with increase of
temperature to θ
ks(θ) Strength reduction factor for reinforcement
l Length of column
leff Effective length of the span or effective length
lo,fi Effective length under fire conditions
lx; ly Spans of a two-way slab
m Combustion factor
n Load level at normal temperature conditions
N0Ed,fi Axial load under fire conditions
NEd,fi Design effect of actions in the fire situation
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NRd Design resistance for normal temperature design


Olim Reduced opening factor in case of fuel controlled fire
P Relevant representative value of a prestressing action
Q Total rate of heat release (kW)
qf,d The design fire load density per unit floor area(MJ/m2)
qf,k The characteristic fire load density per unit floor area (Table 7.19) (MJ/m2)
Qk Characteristic value of a single variable action
Qk,1 Characteristic value of the leading variable action
qt,d Fire load density related to the total surface area At of the enclosure (MJ/m2)
R Resistance
Rηfi Component to calculate the fire resistance of columns (using Method A)
t* Parametric time to incorporate the ventilation conditions and compartment
boundary conditions
t*max Total heating duration
te,d Equivalent time of exposure
tlim Time for maximum gas temperature in case of fuel-controlled fire
tmax Time for maximum gas temperature
u Moisture content of concrete by weight
w Width (for calculating the fire damaged zone) see Figure 7.9
wf Ventilation factor
wt The ventilation factor with regard to the total surface area of the fire compartment
αcc Coefficient of compressive strength
αh Ah/Af
αv Av/Af
Г Time factor function of the opening factor O and the thermal absorptivity b
Гlim Time factor function of the opening factor Olim and the thermal absorptivity b
γc,fi Partial safety factor for fire design of concrete
γG Partial factor for permanent actions

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Symbol Definition
γQ,1 Partial factor for variable action 1
δ1 A factor of 0.61 which can be used when sprinklers are installed
εc,θ Thermal strain of concrete
εc1,θ Compressive strain in the concrete under uniaxial compression at elevated
temperatures
εcu1,θ Ultimate compressive strain in the concrete under uniaxial compression at
elevated temperatures
εpt,θ Limiting strain for yield strength for cold-worked (wires and strands) and quenched
and tempered (bars) prestressing steel at temperature θ
εpu,θ Ultimate strain for yield strength for cold-worked (wires and strands) and
quenched and tempered (bars) prestressing steel at temperature θ
εsp,θ Strain at the proportional limit for reinforcing steel at temperature θ
εst,θ; Limiting strain for yield strength for reinforcing steel at temperature θ
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εsu,θ; Ultimate strain for yield strength for reinforcing steel at temperature θ
εsy,θ Yield strain for reinforcing steel at temperature θ
η Reduction factor in fire design
ηfi Reduction factor for the design load level for the fire situation
θ The temperature rise above ambient in the upper gas layer
θc Concrete temperature
θm Mean temperature
Θg Gas temperature in the fire compartment or near the member (°C)
Θmax Maximum temperature (°C)
f Bar diameter
λ Thermal conductivity or; slenderness ratio
λ The thermal conductivity of boundary of enclosure at ambient temperature (W/mK)
λc Thermal conductivity of concrete (W/mK)
μfi Design load level in the fire situation
ξ Reduction factor for unfavourable permanent action Gk (BS EN 1990)
ρ Density (kg/m3)
ρ The density of boundary of enclosure at ambient temperature (kg/m3)
ρc,20 Concrete density at ambient temperature (kg/m3)
ρc,θ Density of concrete at temperature θ (kg/m3)
ρcp Volumetric specific heat (J/m3K)
ψ0 Combination value of a variable action (e.g. used when considering ULS)
ψ0,1 Combination factor for the characteristic value of a variable action
ψ1 Factor for frequent value of a variable action
ψ2 Factor for quasi-permanent value of a variable action
ψfi Combination factor for the frequent value or quasi-permanent variable action
ω Mechanical reinforcement ratio

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Glossary
Term Definition
a–b transformation Transformation of quartz at around 575°C to a form which
has hexagonal symmetry
basic creep The creep of stable concrete loaded at constant temperature
after all physical, chemical and hydrological transformations
have ceased
bulk density The mass divided by the total volume occupied
ceramic binding Chemical binding that takes place in cement paste at about
800°C when all chemically bound water is lost
CFD Computational fluid dynamics
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compartmentation Fire compartments which are separated from each other by


fire-resistant walls and floors so as to restrict the spread of
fire allowing occupants to escape and provide property
protection
CPD Construction Products Directive

C/S ratio Calcium-to-silica ratio (of cement)


CSH structure Calcium-silicate-hydrate structure (of hardened concrete)
DTA Differential thermal analysis
E Flame integrity (time in minutes in a standard fire test that
element maintains flame-separating function)
ETAs European Technical Approvals
fire resistance Measure of time that an element will survive in a standard
fire test under certain criteria
fly ash Industrial by-product typically from coal-fired power
stations
FPN Fire Practice Note
GDP Gross domestic product
ggbs Ground granulated blastfurnace slag
HCM Hydrocarbon modified curve also known as (IHC)
‘hot’ permeability Permeability of concrete at elevated temperature
‘hot’ strength Strength of concrete measured at elevated temperature

HSC, HPC High-strength (performance) concrete


HSE Heat and smoke exhaust systems
HTM Health Technical Memorandum

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Term Definition
hydrocarbon fire Nominal fire curve where temperatures remain at 1100°C
after approximately 40 min
I Thermal insulation (time in minutes in a standard fire test
that element maintains heat-separating function)
IHC Increased hydrocarbons (fire) curve also known as
modified hydrocarbon curve (MHC)
ISO curve ISO 834 curve
large pool Nominal fire curve where temperatures remain at 1120°C
hydrocarbon fire after approximately 40 min
Load-induced Occurs during first heating of concrete under load. It
thermal strain (LITS) comprises transient creep, time-dependent ‘basic’ creep and
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changes in the elastic strain. Simply, it is the difference in


the measured strain between concrete heated under load
and that heated without load
LWC Lightweight concrete
mesh density Defines the number of finite elements used to model the
member/structure
MHC Modified hydrocarbon curve also known as IHC or HMC
moisture ‘clog’ Region of saturated pores as water migrates away from the
region heat source
NWC Normal-weight concrete
O Opening factor
physico-hydro- Interrelated physical, moisture and chemical changes in
chemical concrete occurring during heating
PP Polypropylene

QDR Qualitative design review as in BS 7974

R Stability (time in minutes in a standard fire test that


element maintains its ability to support the test load)
RABT curve or ZTV Less severe German version of RWS curve
curve
RPC Reactive powder concrete
RWS curve Fire curve developed in the Netherlands to simulate fire in
petrol tankers
shore hardness Resistance to permanent indentation
spalling Violent or non-violent breaking off of layers or pieces of
concrete from the surface
SRPC Sulfate-resisting Portland cement

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Term Definition
TNO Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research
transient creep LITS minus ‘basic creep’ and changes in the delayed
elastic strain, for drying concrete and contains drying
creep
transitional thermal LITS minus ‘basic creep’ and changes in the delayed elastic
creep (ttc) strain, for drying concrete and contains drying creep
true density Density of a powder
UHSC, UHPC Ultra-high-strength (performance) concrete
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xii

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Introduction
1

1. Introduction
The effects of fire in buildings and on civil engineering structures can lead to loss of life,
structural damage and impact upon the wider economy and environment. Normally, the
economic loss is considered at the user level (i.e. micro-economy) but modern developments
of macro-economic impact have shown that these can be significant, affecting jobs and
GDP at the national and even international levels. Some businesses have failed to survive
following a fire in their premises. It is therefore important that buildings, tunnels and
other structures are designed and constructed such that the probability of a fire occurring,
and the resulting consequences, are minimised.

Legislation requires buildings to be designed such that in the case of a fire reasonable
levels of life safety are achieved. The requirements comprise:

„„ Safe egress of the occupants from the building or reasonable safe movement of
occupants to designated refuge areas within the building.
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„„ Safe operating conditions for fire-fighters.


„„ Safety of people within or in the proximity of the building (including fire-fighters)
from the threat of possible collapse of the building.

Life safety requirements are covered by Regulations. For example, as explained in


Chapter 6, the Building Regulations in England and Wales(4) provide the following
functional objectives relating to structural aspects of fire safety.

„„ The building shall be designed and constructed so that in the event of fire its stability
will be maintained for a reasonable period.
„„ To inhibit the spread of fire within the building it shall be divided with fire resisting
construction to an extent appropriate to the size and intended use of the building.

To meet these life safety requirements either simple prescriptive rules, as outlined in the
approved documents(5), technical documents(6,7) or design codes(8-10), or a more rational
performance-based approach(8,11) considering the true behaviour of the fire and
structural response, could be adopted. The first requirement deals with overall stability
of the structure. However, the issue is ‘what is a reasonable period’? If the prescriptive
rules are followed relating to fire resistance then the requirement is deemed to be
satisfied. If a performance-based approach is adopted then definitive performance
criteria can be specified, as discussed in section 5.5.

The second requirement deals with compartmentation, which is important for life safety
and property protection. Compartmentation can be formed by elements such as floor
slabs, loadbearing walls, or non-loading bearing walls which essentially divide up the
internal building space, impeding a fire’s ability to spread.

Impressive developments have taken place in the construction of thermo-hydro-


mechanical numerical models that in principle could simulate a heated concrete
structure, predicting the development with time of temperature within the concrete,
moisture condition, pore pressure and consequential damage. Such models offer
potential, especially in predicting spalling, but require further development and
validation. Importantly they rely heavily on the accurate input of materials test data.
More simply, there are calculation tools that are able to model the thermal behaviour of
a heated concrete member, or at a higher level the thermo-mechanical response of a
beam, column or section of the structure.

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2 Scope

2. Scope
This guide is intended to be a reference document to structural engineers, specialist fire
consultants, architects, approving bodies and clients. It presents the basic principles of
fire behaviour of concrete structures, discussing the basic material behaviour and
resulting structural response in fire. Guidance is presented on how to control the mix
design of concretes to reduce the loss of strength and stiffness of the structure and how
to reduce the probability of spalling. The current design methods to Eurocode 2 and
British Standards are introduced, ranging from the simple prescriptive approaches to the
advanced performance-based approaches. The advanced performance-based
approaches are becoming more common as clients increasingly ask for more robust
designs, above the minimum legislative requirements, to address higher levels of life
safety, property protection, business continuity, corporate image and environmental
impact. The performance of masonry structures is covered but not in the same depth as
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concrete structures.

Aspects of the fire, thermal response and structural behaviour are considered at various
levels of complexity, with guidance on their use presented. Also discussed in this guide
are the latest legislative documents, design codes and relevant design guides. Special
consideration is given to protection and risk, the fire design of tunnels, schools, industrial
buildings, hospitals, the stance of the insurance companies, and the ease of repair
following a fire.

The guide discusses the material science aspects of concrete behaviour in fire in some
depth, this will be of particular interest to fire specialists. This guide has been prepared
so that it can be read as a whole, or used as a reference source with extensive cross-
referencing between sections.

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Material behaviour 3

3. Material behaviour
This chapter provides an overview of the behaviour of structural materials in fire and a
detailed background to the fundamental behaviour of concrete and steel reinforcement
during a fire. It also makes reference to the current code BS EN 1992-1-2(8), which
provides simplistic and generic guidance on the thermal and mechanical properties of
concrete, when used for design.

3.1 Material overview The choice of material used for construction will depend on factors such as cost, speed
of construction, buildability and the design performance under anticipated loading,
which includes fire. The primary materials used for construction are concrete, steel,
timber and masonry. These are discussed below in terms of their behaviour under fire
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conditions.

Concrete Concrete does not burn – unlike other materials in a building it cannot be ‘set on fire’
and it does not emit any toxic fumes when affected by fire. Neither will it produce
smoke or drip molten particles, unlike some plastics and metals, so it does not add to
the fire load. In addition, while all materials lose strength and stiffness as they are
heated, concrete has a low thermal conductivity (50 times lower than steel). In a fire it
increases in temperature very slowly, giving it an inherent fire resistance.

Evidence of concrete’s inherent fire resistance can be seen following real building fires, as
shown in Figure 3.1. It is generally found that for concrete buildings, the overall building
structure is maintained and can be easily repaired.

Concrete members are also resistant to impact damage and thus provide a guaranteed
robust fire protection throughout the life of the building. It is this ‘in-built’ fire resistance
which makes concrete an ideal construction material.

Figure 3.1
Structural stability of a concrete structure
following a severe fire.
Photo: London Fire Brigade

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3 Material behaviour

Spalling, a phenomenon where the surface concrete breaks away at elevated


temperatures, can occur during a fire. However, when using normal-strength concrete it
is generally accepted that any spalling which does occur will not significantly affect the
overall structural behaviour of a building. This is dealt with in depth in Chapter 8. Care
should be taken to reduce the risk of spalling where the failure of any critical (key)
elements may lead to disproportionate collapse. Chapter 8 provides detail on the
behaviour of spalling and practical design guidance, and in Chapter 9 the consequences
of spalling in tunnels and high-strength concrete (used in high-rise buildings) are
discussed.

Steel Above a temperature of approximately 600°C, steel loses strength and stiffness but at a
slower rate than concrete. However, steel rapidly increases in temperature, thereby
losing strength and stiffness very quickly in a fire (Figure 3.2). In contrast, only the
heated surface region of a concrete structure will be exposed to the high temperatures
owing to its low thermal diffusivity. It is possible to design unprotected steel members.
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This usually involves relying on the concrete and reinforcing mesh of a composite floor(12)
or partially protecting(13) the structural steel elements using the concrete floor plate or
infill concrete between the flanges.

Figure 3.2
Damage to a steel structure
following a fire.

The most common method for ensuring fire resistance of steel structures is to protect
the exposed steel members by using proprietary fire protection systems comprising
sprays, boards and intumescent coatings. The disadvantage of these systems is that they
can be costly in terms of material and fixing time, and it is recognised that the operation
of fixing fire protection on site tends to lie on the critical path of the construction
programme. However, off-site-applied intumescent coatings, although costly, can
alleviate the problem of fixing time. Proprietary (lightweight) protection systems need to
be maintained during the lifetime of the building otherwise damage to protection
systems following refurbishment work can undermine the fire protection strategy. An
example of this can be seen in Figure 3.3.

Performance of concLATEST.indd 4 15/02/2011 10:08:39


Material behaviour 3

Figure 3.3
Damage to applied fire protection during
refurbishment.
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Timber Although timber is classified as a combustible material, a properly designed timber


structure can meet fire regulations. Light timber construction is protected by fire-
resistant cladding materials, while heavy timber construction has some inherent fire
resistance due to a char layer forming which restricts heat penetration.

The main disadvantage of light timber construction is the reliance on fire protection
boards which, if correctly fitted (correct fixings and spacing of fixings), will perform well
in a fire. However, if the protecting board is damaged during construction or penetrating
services, or is not fixed correctly, fire will encroach into the timber frame and structural
stability will be quickly compromised.

Timber-framed construction is also vulnerable during the construction stage because


the required fire protection and compartmentation may not be in place.

Masonry Experience from real fires shows that masonry walls perform extremely well and failure,
if it occurs, is generally due to the surrounding structure placing eccentric or lateral loads
on the wall, resulting in collapse. However, thermal bowing of very tall unreinforced
cantilever masonry walls, due to a severe fire on one side of the wall, can also lead to
collapse.

Masonry walls which are correctly tied and not susceptible to additional loads from the
surrounding structure, can provide excellent fire compartment walls.

Performance of concLATEST.indd 5 15/02/2011 10:08:40


3 Material behaviour

3.2 Concrete performance Concrete structures have a good fire performance record and any structural damage can
normally be repaired and the structure reused. Concrete is inherently fire resistant due to
its incombustibility and slow rate of heat transfer. However, when heated it will
eventually, like all materials, lose its mechanical strength and undergo thermal
deformations. This loss in strength generally occurs only in the heated surface region
exposed to the higher temperatures during a fire. This can lead to spalling, with some
concrete types more prone to spalling than others, which it is why it is important to
understand the behaviour of different concretes in fire. This behaviour is dependent on
the aggregates used, the relative proportions of the constituent materials and the
presence of any polypropylene microfibres. Figure 3.4 lists the material choice which
should be specified in order to mitigate the detrimental effects of spalling or of strength
loss. To reduce or eliminate the effects of thermal deformations, stable aggregates of
low thermal expansion are preferred. The selection of different types of steel
reinforcement is also an important consideration, with hot-rolled bars, cold-worked bars,
cold-worked prestressing wires and strands, quenched and tempered prestressing bars
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all losing strength at different rates when they are heated.

Figure 3.4
Concrete design to mitigate
spalling and strength loss(14). To prevent To minimise
spalling Material strength loss
choice

Thermally stable, Low


Low thermal expansion, thermal expansion,
Aggregate
Stable, small size Rough surface, Angular,
contains reactive silica

Reduce C/S ratio: ggbs


Cement is best then flyash. Silica
Preferably not silica fume replacement fume performs worst of
all three

Hydrothermal
Not too low if possible Water / Cement conditions could
develop at low w/c

Required if concrete of Polypropylene


fibres
No dependence
low permeability

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Material behaviour 3

3.3 Temperature effects on When considering data from research papers, it is important to differentiate between
concrete cases of unsealed concrete, such as in a fire, and sealed (permanently saturated)
concrete such as that found in nuclear reactors. Unsealed concrete is characterised by
dehydration processes starting with the loss of free water, then physically bound water
and followed by chemically bound water. During a fire moisture migrates into the heated
structural element and escapes from the surface. Moisture gain and pore pressures can
develop at some distance from the surface, leading to chemical transformations in the
moisture ‘clog’ region (defined as the region of saturated pores as water migrates from
the heat source) as well as pore pressures in the temperature range 100–250°C. This
development of pore pressures and thermal stresses may lead to spalling. Above 100°C,
chemically bound water is released thus contributing to pore pressure development.

The loss of strength in concrete starts at about 250°C for flint aggregate, 300°C for pure
cement paste and 350°C for siliceous aggregates. At temperatures between 300°C and
600°C the loss of strength depends upon the concrete mix constituents and type of
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aggregates. Between 550°C and 600°C all Portland cement based concretes lose their
load-bearing capacity and experience a surge in creep(15).

Figure 3.5 presents an overview of the effect of heating on the physico-hydro-chemical


processes taking place in unsealed concrete (i.e. concrete where moisture is allowed to
evaporate). More detail is given in Table 3.1.

Concrete’s low thermal conductivity causes large thermal gradients to develop during
fire in structural members; this results in only the surface region being subjected to
temperatures above 550 °C. At about 400 °C calcium hydroxide crystals (Ca(OH)2) start
to dissociate into lime (CaO) and water (H2O). The rate of dissociation depends upon the
temperature level and heating rate and is manifested by an endothermic peak which can
be measured by differential thermal analysis (DTA). Siliceous aggregates containing
quartz would expand by about 5.7% as the crystalline quartz experiences an
endothermic a–b transformation at about 575°C (Table 3.1). Some experts believe
these transformations may lead to severe damage or spalling. Quartzite aggregates
include river gravel, sandstones and quartzite rocks. Carbonate aggregates such as
limestones and dolomites are stable up to about 700°C at which temperature the
calcium carbonate (CaCO3) starts to decompose into lime (CaO) and carbon dioxide
(CO2). This process expels a considerable amount of CO2 and reaches a peak at about
800°C. Ceramic binding takes place in cement paste at about 800°C and at this
temperature all chemically bound water is lost. This ceramic binding will cause an
increase in residual strength once cooled. Ultimately, cement paste starts to melt at
temperatures in excess of 1100°C depending upon its chemical composition. More detail
of the microstructural behaviour of heated concrete may be obtained from the 2007 FIB
State-of-the-Art document, Fire Design of Concrete Structures(16). In contrast, moist
sealed cement paste above 100°C is dominated by hydrothermal chemical
transformations and reactions.

Performance of concLATEST.indd 7 15/02/2011 10:08:42


3 Material behaviour

Figure 3.5
Simplified global presentation of physico- o
chemical processes in Portland cement 1,400 C


concrete during heating(14).
Concrete melted
o

Concrete structurally not useful


1,300 C

(concrete temperature)
o
Melting starts 1,200 C

Ceramic binding o
800 C
Total loss of water hydration

o
Dissociation of calcium carbonate 700 C

o
Marked increase in “basic” creep 600 C
   quartz expansive inversion
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o
500 C

o
Calcium hydroxide dissociates 400 C
Triple point of water
Thames river gravel breaks up
o

(Surface temperature)
Start of siliceous concrete strength loss 300 C

Explosive spalling
Some flint aggregates dehydrate
o
200 C


Notes Hydrothermal reactions
1. Temperatures are for the Loss of chemically bound water starts o
concrete material and not the fire, 100 C
except for explosive spalling where ‘Hot’ permeability increases markedly
the temperature range is that of the Free water lost at 1 atm
concrete surface and depends upon o
the heating rate and type of
20 C
concrete.

2. Unsealed cement paste (i.e.


allowed to dry) behaves very
differently from moist sealed
cement paste. Above 100 oC, the
former is dominated by dehydration
processes, while the latter is
dominated by hydrothermal
chemical transformations and
reactions.

Jenny Burridge
Concrete & Fire
Version 1
Chap 3 Figure 3.2
28.07.08
Amendments
31.07.08, 06.02.09
8

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Material behaviour 3

Table 3.1
Phase changes in heated concrete(17).
Phases Process Energy Phase Change Process
Dehydration Chemical loss solid matrix (CSH or Ca(OH)2) ⇒ water – energy
+ matter (C or CyS)
Hydration gain water + matter (C or C xS) ⇒ solid matrix (CSH or
Ca(OH)2) + energy

Evaporation Physical loss capillary water ⇒ water vapour – energy

Condensation gain water vapour ⇒ capillary water + energy

Desorption Physical loss physically adsorbed water ⇒ water vapour –


energy
Sorption gain water vapour ⇒ physically adsorbed water +
energy

Decarbonation *
Chemical loss calcium carbonate ⇒ CO2 – energy

Carbonation gain CO2 ⇒ calcium carbonate + energy


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a–b inversion Physical loss Endothermic during heating up at 573oC with
Note
* occurs in both cement paste expansion
and carbonate aggregates
a–b inversion gain Exothermic during cooling down at 573oC with
above 600 oC
† occurs in the quartz contraction
aggregates and sands

3.4 Compressive strength Compressive strength is by far the most tested property of heated concrete because it is
of concrete a vital element of structural design giving an overall impression of the quality of the
concrete material. Tests may be carried out ‘hot’ (at different temperatures to allow the
strength to be estimated during a fire) and ‘residual’ (after cooling) which allows
strength to be assessed following a fire. Concretes may be tested either in the ‘unsealed’
condition allowing moisture to escape from the specimen or in the ‘sealed’ condition
where moisture is retained. In large heated concrete sections, moisture would migrate
inwards away from the surface exposed to fire thus creating a moving ‘moisture clog’
zone at lower temperatures.

Most concretes experience a strength reduction above 300°C, but this is dependent
upon the type of aggregate (Figure 3.6) and cement blend used. Between 300°C and
600°C concrete strength may be improved by judicial mix design. However, a marked
increase in the basic creep of Portland cement paste and concrete occurs at about 550–
600°C(15), indicating this temperature to be critical; above this temperature concrete is
not structurally useful. Fortunately, in a fire, only the zone nearest the concrete surface
experiences temperatures greater than 300°C and the normal practice is to remove and
replace this ‘overheated’ layer. As long as the concrete does not spall, this layer
continues to provide thermal protection to the reinforcement and inner concrete and
effectively acts as a thermal barrier, even though its structural role becomes diminished.

Performance of concLATEST.indd 9 15/02/2011 10:08:43


3 Material behaviour

Figure 3.6
The influence of aggregate type upon the 125
compressive strength of unsealed
concrete tested at temperatures heated Lightweight
without stress(18).
100

Compressive Strength (%)


75
Carbonate

50

Siliceous
25 Hot test
Compression
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Unstressed

0
21 200 400 600 800
o
Temperature ( C)

The design code BS EN 1992-1-2(8) provides strength reduction factors for concrete
subjected to uniaxial
Figure 3.3 compression heated without load. The reduction factors are
simplistic and are defined for siliceous aggregate, calcareous aggregate and lightweight
concrete. Strength reduction factors (fc,θ /fck) are shown in Table 3.2 and Figure 3.7,
where it can be seen that siliceous aggregate concretes lose greater strength at a given
temperature compared to calcareous aggregate and lightweight concretes. The values
for lightweight concrete are given in BS EN 1994-1-2(80).

Jenny Burridge
Concrete & Fire
Version 1
Chap 3 Fig 3.3
28.07.08
Amendments
06.02.09, 20.02.09, 26.02.09, 24.06.09

10

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Material behaviour 3

Table 3.2
Compressive strength reduction factors for
Temperature θ (°C) Siliceous Calcareous LWC
normal-weight (BS EN 1992-1-2(8)) and NWC NWC
lightweight concrete (BS EN 1994-1-2(80))
heated without load. f c,θ /fck f c,θ /fck f c,θ /fck
20 1.00 1.00 1.00

100 1.00 1.00 1.00

200 0.95 0.97 1.00

300 0.85 0.91 1.00

400 0.75 0.85 0.88

500 0.60 0.74 0.76

600 0.45 0.60 0.64

700 0.30 0.43 0.52

800 0.15 0.27 0.40


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900 0.08 0.15 0.28

1000 0.04 0.06 0.16

1100 0.01 0.02 0.04

1200 0.00 0.00 0.00

Figure 3.7
Reduction of strength for normal-weight 1.0
and lightweight concretes at elevated
temperatures after heating without load
given in BS EN 1992-1-2 and 0.8
Reduction factor of strength

BS EN 1994-1-2.

0.6
Lightweight concrete (LWC)
Normal weight concrete (NWC) - Siliceous

0.4
Normal weight concrete (NWC) - Calcareous

0.2

0
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
o
Temperature ( C)

11

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3 Material behaviour

A positive aspect of the strength reduction of concrete at high temperature is the


‘beneficial’ influence of loading which places the material into compression thereby
inhibiting the development of cracks. This influence is not considered in the material
models given in codes and standards. Nevertheless, this factor is thought to contribute
significantly to the good performance of concrete under test and in real fires. An
example of this phenomenon is given in Figure 3.8 where the influence of temperature is
markedly diminished when concrete is heated under load. Both compressive strength
and elastic modulus reduce far less with an increase in temperature for concrete heated
when under compression.

Figure 3.8
Scatter in the strength of 140
concrete at high temperature in terms of Average value of all data
sealing condition, stress level during
heating, testing hot or residual or thermal 120
cycling(19).
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Unsealed
Hot
Compressive strength (%)

100
Residual

Quenched
80 Stressed
Incre
as
of the ing numb
rmal e
cycle r
s
Unstressed
60

Sealed
40

20
0 100 200 300 400 500
o
Temperature ( C)

Figure 3.5

High-strength concrete (HSC) is mainly achieved using high cement contents along with
superplasticising water-reducing admixtures to obtain a low water/cement ratio and
further strength enhancement is achieved by adding silica fume. Consequently, HSC has
a lower permeability and water content compared with normal-weight concrete (NWC).
Recent research(16) has extended the testing of compressive strength from normal-
strength concrete to high-strength concrete (strengths 60–100 MPa) and also ultra-
high-strength concrete (UHSC) containing steel fibres (strengths 100–300 MPa). Results
indicate that the residual strength declines more steeply than the hot strength of
C60/75 concrete containing silica fume (Figure 3.9). The reverse is true for UHSC where
the hot strength declines more steeply than the residual strength(20). The influence of
steel fibres in the UHSC concrete may in part account for this phenomenon.

Jenny Burridge
Concrete & Fire
12 Version 1
Chap Figure 3.5
04.08.08
Amendment
06.02.09,20.02.09, 24.06.09

Performance of concLATEST.indd 12 15/02/2011 10:08:44


Material behaviour 3

Figure 3.9
This figure indicates that the strength is
120
higher at a given temperature compared 20%
to the residual strength once the concrete Hot
has cooled (20% denotes that the 0%
specimen was loaded to 20% of its 100
capacity during heating whereas 0%
denotes that it was unloaded)(20).

Compressive strength (%)


80 0%
Residual

60 20%

40

20
C60/75 - Concrete (HSC)
containing silica fume
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0
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700
o
Temperature ( C)

Figure 3.6

The code BS EN 1992-1-2(8) divides high-strength concrete into three classes:

„„ Class 1 for concrete C55/67 and C60/75


„„ Class 2 for concrete C70/85 and C80/95
„„ Class 3 for concrete C90/105.

The strength notation of C55/67 refers to a concrete grade with characteristic cylinder
and cube strength of 55 MPa and 67 MPa, respectively. The figures used are based on a
limited number of test results and the UK National Annex allows alternative results to be
used if sound evidence is available. BS EN 1992-1-2 provides the reduction of strength
(fc,θ /fck) of HSC at elevated temperatures as shown in Figure 3.10. Compared to NWC
with siliceous aggregate, HSC generally suffers greater strength reduction at elevated
temperatures above 300°C. It should also be noted that for HSC the behaviour depends
on the concrete type and the load during heating.

Jenny Burridge
Concrete & Fire
Version 1
Chap 3 Fig 3.6
07.08.08
Amendments
06.02.09, 26.02.09

13

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3 Material behaviour

Figure 3.10
Reduction of strength for high-strength HSC - Class 1
concrete at elevated temperatures heated HSC - Class 2
without load according to HSC - Class 3
BS EN 1992-1-2(8). X NWC - Siliceous
1.0 X X
X
X
0.8

Reduction factor of strength


X

0.6 X

X
0.4

X
0.2
X
X
X
X X
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0
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
o
Temperature ( C)

Figure 3.7

Judicial design of the concrete can reduce the deterioration of mechanical properties for
temperatures ranging from ambient to 600°C. An extreme example using firebrick
aggregate and a Portland cement–slag blend is shown in Figure 3.11. This takes into
consideration the behaviour of aggregate, cement paste, and their interaction. It also
considers the processes that influence the strength of concrete during the four stages of
heating, constant temperature, cooling and post-cooling(21).

Figure 3.11
An example of concrete designed without
significant residual strength loss up to 120
Firebrick - ggbs concrete
about 500–600oC.

100
ggbs paste

80
Compressive strength (%)

60

Jenny Burridge
Concrete & Fire
Version 1
40
Chap 3 Fig 3.7
Note
07.08.08
Two key factors here include
Amendments
thermally stable aggregate and
06.02.09, 20.02.09, 24.06.09, 29.06.09
(22)
the type of cement used. 20 Residual
Note that even with these
Unstressed
characteristics, the basic creep
of concrete (essentially of
Portland cement paste)
increases considerably in the 0
‘hot’ state above about 500– 0 100 200 300 400 500 600
o
600 oC and thus is unable to Temperature ( C)
bear load(15)

14 Figure 3.8

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Material behaviour 3

The choice of aggregate is probably the most important factor when considering the
behaviour of concrete in fire. Aggregates such as flint or Thames river gravel break up at
relatively low temperatures (below 350°C) while others such as granite exhibit thermal
stability up to 600°C. The thermal stability of different aggregates increases in the
following order:
„„ Flint
„„ Thames river gravel
„„ Limestone
„„ Siliceous Increase in thermal stability
„„ Basalt
„„ Granite
„„ Gabro

Desirable features in aggregates are:


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„„ low thermal expansion which improves thermal compatibility with the cement paste
and reduces thermal stresses in the heated concretes
„„ rough angular surfaces which improve the physical bond with the paste
„„ the presence of reactive silica which improves the chemical bond with the paste.

An important feature in the cement blend is the calcium-to-silica (C/S) ratio. A low C/S
ratio results in a low calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2) content in the original mix, ensuring a
more beneficial hydrothermal reaction. Calcium hydroxide is not desirable because it
dissociates at about 400°C into calcium oxide (CaO), which then rehydrates expansively
and detrimentally upon cooling and exposure to moisture. The C/S ratio is reduced in
practice by the use of ground granulated blastfurnace slag (ggbs), fly ash or silica fume.
Tests show that the use of ggbs produces the best results at high temperatures followed
by fly ash and then silica fume(22, 23). The relatively low performance of the silica fume
cement paste (contrary to its high durability performance at room temperature) may be
attributed to the dense low permeability structure of the paste which does not readily
allow moisture to escape from the heated concrete, thus resulting in high pore pressures
and the development of microcracks.

Given the large number of material and environmental factors that influence the
compressive strength of heated concrete, it is no surprise that measurements of
compressive strength at 150°C can yield results ranging from as low as 30% to as high
as 120% of the original cold strength. It is no wonder that data of concrete strengths at
elevated temperatures, taken from various sources, differ substantially and in some cases
even seem contradictory. Therefore, representing ‘typical’ strength behaviour of all
normal-weight concrete at high temperatures with a single average curve can be
misleading unless the specific mix and environmental conditions (heating rate, load
during heating, moisture condition, cooling rate etc.) are specified.

15

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3 Material behaviour

3.5 Modulus of elasticity Influence of load


The behaviour of the modulus of elasticity during heating depends largely on the load
level and the type of concrete used (Figures 3.12 and 3.13). Most test results are for
unsealed concrete heated without load and show a steep decline of modulus with
increase in temperature, which is in fact a steeper decline than that of the compressive
strength (Figure 3.13). However, heating concrete under compressive load has a dramatic
influence on the decline of the modulus with increase in temperature, and can even halt
this decline. Figure 3.12 illustrates this by showing two concretes heated under a
constant load of 20% of the unheated strength. These two concretes are C70/85 high-
strength concrete and an ultra-high-strength concrete (UHSC). The same trends apply
for normal-strength concrete.

Influence of moisture
Moisture condition also has an influence; the modulus of concrete heated under sealed
conditions declines with increase in temperature to a greater extent than concrete
heated unsealed and allowed to dry. In the unsealed condition, the modulus could
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experience a decline for temperatures up to approximately 80°C owing to the dilation of


water which reduces physical forces in the calcium-silicate-hydrate (CSH) phases.
However, at higher temperature, water is driven off and the process is reversed,
indicating an increase in modulus for temperatures of 100–200°C. This trend of a
minimum, at about 80°C, and a maximum, at about 100–200°C, is qualitatively similar
to that of the compressive strength. At higher temperatures, unsealed concrete heated
without load experiences a steep and approximately linear reduction in modulus similar
in trend for different concretes (Figure 3.12).

Influence of type of concrete


Results of reduction in modulus with temperature taken from different tests indicate
considerable variations up to about 80°C. For unsealed normal-strength Thames gravel
concrete, the modulus curve reaches a minimum at 80°C (owing to moisture dilation)
followed by a maximum at 100°C and then a steady decline above this temperature.
This wide variation, in the magnitude of percentage reduction in the modulus of
elasticity at 80°C of different concretes tested under similar conditions, is most likely to
be caused by the different aggregates used. Due to thermal incompatibility with the
cement paste, concretes containing aggregates of low thermal expansion such as
limestones or dolomites experience a greater reduction in the modulus of elasticity than
those with a higher thermal expansion such as gravels and sandstone. Above 100°C the
fall in modulus with increase in temperature seems to be approximately linear for all
types of concrete up to a critical temperature range within which the concrete
experiences severe deterioration. This is accompanied by a sharper decrease in the
modulus of elasticity for river gravel concrete above 400°C and expanded shale concrete
above 600°C.

Comparison with compressive strength


Generally the modulus of elasticity reduces to a greater degree with increase in
temperature than does the compressive strength (Figure 3.13).

Influence of cooling
The process of cooling may result in additional cracks within the concrete due to thermal
incompatibility between the aggregate and cement paste and also to the fact that the

16

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Material behaviour 3

load-induced thermal strain (LITS) is absent during the cooling process. The LITS is
obtained from the difference of the thermal strain between an unloaded and a loaded
concrete specimen and is described in detail in section 3.7.2. The modulus after cooling
may be significantly higher than at elevated temperatures because the cracks are closed
during the loading process(29,35).

Figure 3.12
Relative reduction of residual
modulus in high-performance concrete 120
(C70/85) and ultra-high-performance C70/85
concrete (RPC) after heat cycling without
load and under 20% load(20). The load UHSC
100
during heating has a considerable
influence.
cooling (%)

80
UHSC 20% Load
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after(%)
Elastic modulus

C70/85
60
Residual elastic modulus

40

20
Residual tests 0% Load
After cooling

0
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700
o
Temperature ( C)

Figure 3.13 Figure 3.9


Relative reduction of residual 120
strength and E value C70/85 concrete Strength
heat cycled without load and under 20% 20% Load

load(20). 100
20%

E-value
80 20% Load
Property Change (%)

60
0%

40
E-value
0% Load Strength
0% Load
20
C70/ 85 Residual
Compression

0
Jenny Burridge 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700
Concrete & Fire o
Temperature ( C)
Version 1
Chap 3 Fig 3.9
07.08.08
Amendments
06.02.09, 20.02.09,Figure
13.11.09
3.10

17

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3 Material behaviour

3.6 Stress–strain The stress–strain relationship is normally tested at various constant temperatures.
relationship of concrete Consequently, the properties do not represent dynamic fire exposure where the thermo-
hydro-mechanical state of the structure changes throughout the concrete cross-section.

In the structural design of heated reinforced concrete the entire stress–strain curve
(often in idealised form) must be considered as a function of temperature. The actual
stress–strain curve for concrete at elevated temperatures, as opposed to simply the
modulus of elasticity, is important since in fire conditions the concrete could be exposed
to such excessively high temperatures that the inelastic range of the stress–strain curve
is likely to be reached.

For concrete heated without load, an increase in the test temperature results in a
reduction in the slope of the elastic range (i.e. reduced modulus of elasticity), a
reduction in the maximum stress (i.e. reduced compressive strength) and also a
reduction in the slope of the descending branch (i.e. less brittle and more ductile
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material). In contrast, the ultimate strain at maximum stress, and crushing strain,
increase with temperature, as shown in Figures 3.14 and 3.15.

However, for concrete heated under compressive load the effect of temperature is
markedly less such that a significant part of the ascending branch of the residual stress–
strain relationship can be very similar for a range of temperatures as far apart as 20°C
and 500°C. Figure 3.15 shows this for the residual stress–strain relation of C70/85
concrete containing thermal stable granite aggregate. Such a dramatic influence of load,
during heating, is not normally appreciated and quite often designers carrying out
detailed modelling use the stress–strain results of concrete tested after heating without
load. The compressive stress applied during heating could limit the development of
microcracks and may also cause a ‘densification’ of the paste reflected by a large load-
induced thermal strain (see section 3.7.2). Interestingly, the load effect has been
observed in normal-strength, high-strength and ultra-high-strength concrete containing
steel fibres(16). The influence of pre-load was also found to a lesser degree, for concretes
tested after cooling – providing the cooling process also takes place under load. Cooling
without load could result in a marked increase in the elastic strain(24).

Measurement of the stress–strain relationship in direct tension at high temperature


requires a special testing machine and method of analysis. At room temperature, the
stress–strain curve in tension appears to be similar in shape to that in compression. In
direct tension, the development of cracks has both the effect of reducing the effective
area resisting stress and of increasing the contribution of cracks to the overall strain. This
may be the reason why the departure from linearity of the stress–strain relation in
tension occurs at a slightly lower stress/strength ratio than in compression(27).

18

Performance of concLATEST.indd 18 15/02/2011 10:08:46


Material behaviour 3

Figure 3.14
Effect of test method on the
stress–strain relation of concrete at
temperatures from ambient up to
approximately 750oC:
1.2 1.2
(a) stress rate control(25), Quartzite normal concrete Basalt
(b) strain rate control(26). o
o o 20 C
20 C 265 C 1.0
Note 1.0 o
A descending branch is adopted in numerical
400 C
o
analysis for numerical stability 350 C

Stress / strength
Stress / strength
0.8 0.8
o
450 C

o 0.6
0.6 500 C

0.4 o 0.4
650 C

0.2 o 0.2
770 C o
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750 C

0 0
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 0 2 4 6
Strain (%) Strain (

(a) Stress rate controlled (b) Strain rate controlled

Figure 3.11

1.2 1.2
Quartzite normal concrete Basalt normal concrete

o
o o 20 C
20 C 265 C 1.0
1.0 o
400 C
o
350 C
Stress / strength
Stress / strength

0.8 0.8
o
450 C

o 0.6
0.6 500 C

o
0.4 o 0.4 550 C
650 C

0.2 o 0.2
770 C o
750 C

0 0
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 0 2 4 6 8 10 12
Strain (%) Strain (%)

(a) Stress rate controlled (b) Strain rate controlled

Figure 3.11

Jenny Burridge
Concrete & Fire
Version 1
Chap 3 Fig 3.11
08.08.08
Amendments
06.02.09, 20.02.09, 26.02.09

19

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3 Material behaviour

Figure 3.15
Effect of load level during heating-
80 80
up upon the residual stress–strain relation in o o
200 C 200 C
uniaxial compression of unsealed C70/85
o o
concrete cylindrical specimens containing 300 C o
20 C
100 C
thermally stable granite aggregate(20). o
100 C
60 60
Note
The tests were conducted at constant stress rate so the descending
o
branch is not shown. Load level is defined as a percentage of the 400 C
unheated concrete strength.

Stress (N/mm )

Stress (N/mm )
2

2
o
500 C 40
40 700

o
600 C

o
20 700 C 20

0 0
0 2000 4000 0 1000 2000
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Microstrains Microstrains

(a) 0% Load (b) 20% Load

80 Figure803.12
o o
200 C 200 C
o
o o 20 C
300 C o 100 C
20 C
o
o 500 C
100 C
60 60
o
300 C
o
o 600 C
400 C
Stress (N/mm )

Stress (N/mm )
2

o
500 C 40
o
40 700 C

o
600 C

o
20 700 C 20

0 0
0 2000 4000 0 1000 2000 3000
Microstrains Microstrains

(a) 0% Load (b) 20% Load

Figure 3.12

Jenny Burridge
Concrete & Fire
Version 1
Chap 3 Fig 3.12
08.08.08
Amendments
06.02.09, 20.02.09, 24.06.09

20

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Material behaviour 3

Figure 3.16 illustrates the stress–strain relationship model for concrete under uniaxial
compression at elevated temperatures in accordance with BS EN 1992-1-2(8), with the
values for each of these parameters as a function of concrete temperatures given in
Table 3.3.

Figure 3.16
Idealised stress–strain relationship of 3 fc,
concrete under compression at elevated for   c1,
temperatures according to BS EN 1992-1-2. c1, [2 + (/c1,)3]
Stress   () =
Linear or non-linear models for c1, <   cu1,
fc,

εc2θ εcu1,θ
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c1, Strain  cu1,

Table 3.3
Parameters for stress–strain relationship of
Temperature Siliceous NWC Calcareous NWC LWC
normal-weight and lightweight concrete at
θ (°C) f c,θ /fck εc1,θ εcu1,θ f c,θ /fck εc1,θ εcu1,θ f c,θ /fck
elevated temperatures after heating without
load (according to BS EN 1992-1-2(8)).
20 1.00 0.0025 0.0200 1.00 0.0025 0.0200 1.00

100 1.00 0.0040 0.0225 1.00 0.0040 0.0225 1.00

200 0.95 0.0055 0.0250 0.97 0.0055 0.0250 1.00

300 0.85 0.0070 0.0275 0.91 0.0070 0.0275 1.00

400 0.75 0.0100 0.0300 0.85 0.0100 0.0300 0.88

500 0.60 0.0150 0.0325 0.74 0.0150 0.0325 0.76

600 0.45 0.0250 0.0350 0.60 0.0250 0.0350 0.64

700 0.30 0.0250 0.0375 0.43 0.0250 0.0375 0.52

800 0.15 0.0250 0.0400 0.27 0.0250 0.0400 0.40

900 0.08 0.0250 0.0425 0.15 0.0250 0.0425 0.28

1000 0.04 0.0250 0.0450 0.06 0.0250 0.0450 0.16


Note 1100 0.01 0.0250 0.0475 0.02 0.0250 0.0475 0.04
εc1,θ and εcu1,θ for light
weight concrete should be
1200 0.00 – – 0.00 – – 0.00
obtained from tests

Jenny Burridge
Concrete & Fire
Version 1
Chap 3 Fig 3.13
26.08.08
Amendments
06.02.09, 24.06.09, 13.11.09 21

Performance of concLATEST.indd 21 15/02/2011 10:08:48


3 Material behaviour

Figure 3.17 shows the typical stress–strain curves for normal-weight concrete at elevated
temperatures in accordance with the mathematical model given in Figure 3.16 and
Table 3.3. It can be seen that the peak compressive strength fc,θ reduces and the
corresponding strain increases with rising temperature.

Conservatively, the tensile strength of concrete can be ignored. However,


BS EN 1992-1-2(8) allows the tensile strength to be taken into account. The reduction of
the characteristic tensile strength of concrete is governed by the coefficient kc,t(θ) and is
given by:

fck,t (θ) = kck (θ) fck ,t Eq 3.1

with
kck,t (θ) =
{
1 .0 for 20oC <θ ≤ 100oC
1 .0 − 1.0(θ´ − 100)/500 for 100oC <θ ≤ 600oC
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where fck,t is the concrete characteristic tensile strength (MPa).

Figure 3.17
Stress–strain curves for siliceous
concrete at elevated temperatures after 1.2
heating without load (derived from
BS EN 1992-1-2(8)). 20 C
o

1.0
o
200 C
Relative compressive strength

0.8
o
400 C
0.6
o
600 C

0.4
o
800 C
0.2 o
1000 C

0
0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5
Strain (%)

22

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Material behaviour 3

3.7 Strains during heating The thermal strains of concrete that develop during first heating up under load can be
considered to consist of ‘load-free’ and ‘load-induced’ components, which have different
and distinct properties.

3.7.1 Thermal strain The thermal strain is strictly the strain of non-drying concrete measured when concrete
is heated without applied load (i.e. load-free). It does not contain drying shrinkage. In
practice, for drying concrete, thermal strain and drying shrinkage are determined
together and are normally considered inseparable. For this reason, the ‘total’ strain of a
drying unloaded concrete specimen measured during first heating is generally referred to
as ‘thermal strain’ in research papers on the subject. A method for isolating the
shrinkage component that develops during first heating has been presented by
Khoury(28).
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The thermal strain of drying concrete is a non-linear function of temperature, dominated


by the aggregate type and content (Figure 3.18).

For the concrete samples tested, thermal strain is more expansive for limestone than
basalt concretes because of the larger thermal expansion of limestone aggregate.
Concretes containing quartz (in the sand or course aggregate) expand markedly at about
573°C due to the a to b inversion of quartz. The effect of the type of cement on the
thermal strain of concrete, although smaller than the effect of the aggregate, is not
negligible as can be deduced from Figure 3.18a (compare thermal strain of BI and BII
concrete). A minimum in the thermal strain coefficient occurs at 150–220°C which
corresponds to the peak in the rate of moisture loss (Figure 3.18b for BI concrete). The
temperature at which this minimum occurs would depend upon the heating rate and the
dimensions/geometry of the specimen(29).

An example, of the effects of different aggregates in relation to the thermal strain, is


shown in Figure 3.20 where two identical unbonded post-tensioned slabs were tested(30)
with the only difference being that one slab had limestone aggregate and the other had
Thames gravel aggregate. The slab with Thames river gravel aggregate had a vertical
displacement of 33% greater than the equivalent slab with limestone and this difference
is shown in Figure 3.20. The movement of the structure, in terms of vertical
displacement and horizontal displacement, is important when considering the whole
building behaviour. For example, vertical displacements need to be kept to a minimum
to reduce the possibility of breaching compartment walls and dislodging fire stopping
and dampeners. Therefore, wherever possible, it is beneficial to specify aggregates with a
low thermal coefficient of expansion.

23

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3 Material behaviour

10000
90
Limestone (LS) Limestone
9000
80
Gravel concrete (G)

8000

70 Gravel
Expansion (microstrain)

Thermal strain coefficient (microstrains / oC)


7000

60
Basalt 1
(B1)
6000
50

5000

40
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4000

30
3000
Basalt 2 (B2)

20
2000
Air Dry
o
Pre-dried @ 105 C
10
1000 Basalt
Lightweight

Lightweight (LW) Initially moist


0 0
200 400 600 100 200 300 400 500 600
Contraction (microstrain)

o
Temperature ( C) o
Temperature ( C)

-1000 -10
(b) Coefficient of thermal strains

Cement paste 1 (CP1)


-2000

Cement paste 2 (CP2)

-3000

-4000

(a) Thermal strains

Figure 3.18
(a) Thermal strains and (b)
coefficient of thermal strains of five
concretes during first heating to 600°C at
1°C/min(29).

Note
B1 and B2 have the same course aggregate type and content but
different cements (B1 = Portland cement/ fly ash, B2, sulfate-
resisting Portland cement (SRPC)) and
different sands.
Jenny Burridge
Concrete & Fire
Version 1
Chap 3 Fig 3.15b
26.08.08
dge
Amendments
Fire
20.02.09, 26.02.09, 24.06.09
3.15a

ts 24
4.06.09

Performance of concLATEST.indd 24 15/02/2011 10:08:49


Material behaviour 3

Figure 3.19
Tests on post-tensioned floor slabs(30).
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90

80
Slab with Thames
gravel aggregate
70

60
Displacement (mm)

50

40 Slab with limestone


aggregate

30

20

10

0
0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450
o
Tendon temperature ( C)

Figure 3.20
Displacement response of slabs with
different aggregates(30).

25

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3 Material behaviour

In BS EN 1992-1-2(8) clause 3.3.1, the thermal strain of concrete εc,θ can be determined by:

For siliceous aggregates:

εc,θ =
{ – 1.8 x 10 -4 + 9 x 10 -6 θ + 2.3 x 10 -11 θ 3 for 20oc < θc ≤ 700oC
14 x 10 -3 for 700oc < θc ≤ 1200oC

For calcareous aggregates:

εc,θ =
{ – 1.8 x 10 -4 + 9 x 10 -6 θ + 2.3 x 10 -11θ 3 for 20oc < θc ≤ 700oC
14 x 10 -3 for 700oc < θc ≤ 1200oC

The related thermal elongation ∆l/l of lightweight concrete may be determined from:

εc,θ = 8 x 10 -6 (θc –20)

where θc is the concrete temperature (°C).


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The variation of the thermal elongation with temperature is shown in Figure 3.21.

Figure 3.21
Thermal strain of concretes at elevated
16000
temperatures according to
BS EN 1992-1-2(8). 14000
Thermal strain (microstrain)

NWC - Siliceous & HSC


12000
NWC - Calcareous & HSC
10000

8000

6000
LWC
4000

2000

0
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
o
Temperature ( C)

Comparison of the thermal strain values given in the code against test data(31) shows
that the codified values can be erroneous and measured values specific to the aggregate
type used should be adopted for an advanced analysis.

26

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Material behaviour 3

3.7.2 Load-induced thermal The load-induced thermal strain (LITS) is obtained from the difference between the
strain (LITS) thermal strain of an unloaded concrete specimen and that measured by applying a
constant load prior to heating, which is maintained constant during heating (Figure 3.22)
while deducting the initial elastic strain on loading. The concrete mix, specimen, initial
moisture content, moisture boundary condition (e.g. unsealed) and thermal boundary
conditions (e.g. a constant rate of temperature increase of 1°C/min) are the same in both
tests. The only difference is the constant load level applied as a percentage of the
compressive strength prior to heating (e.g. 0% and 20%).

LITS is relatively insensitive to the aggregate type and cement combination used because
it originates in a common gel or C-S-H structure. LITS is similar for concretes up to
450°C providing the aggregate content, stress-to-cold-strength ratio and pre-
conditioning are similar (Figure 3.23). A common ‘master’ LITS curve is therefore taken
to exist for concretes for temperatures up to about 450°C(29,32). The presence of the
master curve suggests that, for a given strength, different types of concrete relax
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stresses in a similar way and that the thermal stresses developing in heated structures
would still be proportional to the expansion of the constituent aggregate even after
relaxation. However, although LITS is not greatly influenced by aggregate type, it is (like
the thermal strain) strongly dependent upon the aggregate content by volume and is
restrained by it.

Figure 3.22
6000
Load-induced thermal strain (LITS)
for basalt concrete heating at 1oC/min,
determined as the difference between the
5000
thermal strains of under 0% and 10% load.
Strains under 20% and 30% load are also
shown(29).
4000 Stress level

3000

0%
LITS
2000

1000
Microstrains

10%

0
200 300 400 500 600
o
Temperature ( C)
20%
-1000

30%

-2000

-3000

-4000

27

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3 Material behaviour

LITS is a non-linear function of temperature. A minimum in the LITS coefficient occurs at


110–180°C (Figure 3.24) which corresponds to the peak in the rate of moisture loss(29).

LITS is predominantly, but not always, linearly related to stress in the load range up to
30% of the initial strength, and possibly higher(29,32). Generally, the following influences
are small if not negligible: concrete age (2 months to 9 years(33)); initial moisture content
(65–100% relative humidity (RH)); and type of concrete (e.g. master curve). These,
together with the approximate linearity with stress, and the small influence of heating
rate (e.g. for 0.5–1.0°C/min), allow for considerable simplification of the analysis of
heated concrete structures(32).

LITS comprises several components including transient strain/creep (comprising


transitional thermal creep and drying creep), time-dependent creep, and changes in
elastic strain that occur during heating up under load but does not include the initial
elastic strain on loading.
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Transitional thermal creep (ttc) is the strain that occurs in non-drying concrete induced
by first time-temperature increase under load(34). Below 100°C ttc develops over time to
reach a limiting value at a period of up to about one month after heating under load.
Transient strain/creep is designated for drying concrete and includes ttc and a drying
creep component.

Strictly, both ttc and transient creep do not contain any changes in the plastic strain that
takes place during heating under load. They should also not contain purely time-
dependent strain, the influence of which is noticed when a concrete specimen is heated
up at a very slow rate when compared to one heated up at a faster rate.

28

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Material behaviour 3

G
10000

9000
Expansion (microstrain)

LS
8000
G

6000 B1

Microstrain
B2
4000 LS

2000
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B1
o
Temperature ( C)
Contraction (microstrain)

LW B2
0 0 200 400 600
0
200 400 600 200 400 600
o
Temperature ( C)

-2000
LW

Microstrain
LW
B2
a) Thermal strain
LS
-4000 B1
b) Strain under 10% load

G
-6000
c) Load induced thermal strain (LITS)

Figure 3.20
Figure 3.23
Thermal strains of five concretes measured during
first heating (from the initially air dry condition) at 1oC/min
under 0% thermal strain (TS)(graph a) and 10% load (graph b).
The ‘master’ LITS (graph c)(similar for the five concretes up to
about 450oC) is determined as the contraction strain measured
between the loaded and the unloaded specimens(29).

LS = limestone concrete, B1 and B2 = basalt concrete


LW = lightweight concrete, G = Thames river gravel concrete

Note
The load-free thermal strain is dominated by the aggregate but
not LITS which is seated in the cement paste.

Jenny Burridge
Concrete & Fire
Version 1
Chap 3 Figure 3.20
10.02.09
Amendments
23.02.09, 26.02.09, 24.06.09, 29.06.09 29

Performance of concLATEST.indd 29 15/02/2011 10:08:53


3 Material behaviour

o
TemperatureTemperature
(°C) Temperature
( C) Temperature (°C)
(oC)
200 400 600 800 100 200 300 400 500 600

Stress level

10% 10 Lightweight concrete

-2000 20%

20

30%

LITS Coefficient (microstrains / oC)


Contraction (microstrain)

-4000 30
B2
Basalt concrete

40
Limestone concrete
-6000
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50

-8000 60

Gravel concrete
B1
70

= 1 Standard deviation
80

-10000 LITS coefficient

LITS

(a) Master LITS (b) LITS coefficient

Figure 3.24
(a) Master LITS and (b) LITS coefficient of
five concretes during heating at 1oC/min
under 10%, 20% and 30% load to 600oC(29). Transient creep is normally by far the largest component of LITS (Figure 3.25) in unsealed
mature concrete. It is irrecoverable on cooling and/or unloading and occurs only during
first heating-up under load to a given temperature. However, it may reappear if a long
period elapses between first and second heating. It develops rapidly above 100°C and is
assumed by researchers to be temperature-dependent and not time-dependent. For this
reason some authors prefer to call it transient ‘strain’ rather than ‘creep’.

Drying creep is also non-recoverable on cooling/unloading, and is time- and


temperature-dependent only in as far as moisture loss is time- and temperature-
dependent.
Jenny Burridge Changes in the elastic strains of concrete heated under load are small
Concrete & Fire
throughout
Version 1 the temperature range up to 500°C and above (not the case for concrete
rridge Chap 3 Fig 3.21b
e & Fire heated without load because of crack development). The test results show that, for
Amendments
1 06.02.09, 23.02.09
ig 3.21a loaded concrete, variations in temperature of the elastic strains of the order of 10–100
ents
, 23.02.09, 24.06.09 microstrain are small when compared with the values of 1500–9500 microstrain for the
residual strains(35). The time-dependent creep component is also relatively small which is

30

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Material behaviour 3

evident from specimens heated at 1°C/min and 0.2°C/min(32). Although there was a
fivefold difference in the timescale between the two heating rates, the difference in the
LITS was only about 5–20%. Time-dependent creep is mainly irrecoverable on
unloading, although it may contain a ‘delayed elastic’ component.

Figure 3.25
Development during first
heating of LITS in torsion. Age at test 300
28 days(36).
Torsion test
Angle of twist (Rad/m x 10 )
-3

20
Transient strain
Total LITS
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10

Basic creep

Elastic strain

0
Note 0 200 400 600
1. In torsion testing, both thermal strain and o
Temperature ( C)
shrinkage strains are not present.
2. The elastic strain could change little with
temperature when under 20% load(29).

Considering the relative magnitudes of all the load-induced strain components


mentioned above, it is evident that the bulk of LITS of drying concrete is largely non-
recoverable on cooling and/or unloading; it is for this reason that some authors prefer to
call its largest component transient ‘strain’ rather than ‘creep’. Test results suggest the
creep measurements taken for some time after a constant test temperature has been
attained, were ‘enhanced’ due to internal physico-chemical instability of the concrete.
The measured creep could, therefore, have contained at constant temperature a time-
dependent ‘delayed transient thermal creep’ component (including a drying creep
component at lower temperatures). This may suggest that the term transient thermal
creep would be more appropriate in nuclear applications than the term transient thermal
strain, and the reverse is true for fire applications. The nature of this terminology has
recently been the subject of some discussion. If it is taken as accepted that transient
creep is indeed a time-dependent creep strain, then there is strictly no point in dividing
it into two components. Nevertheless, since most authors feel that transient creep
above 100°C occurs primarily during the thermal transient and is essentially
temperature-dependent, then the use of the term delayed transient creep to denote the
‘decaying’ remains of transient creep which appear at constant temperature, as opposed
to the part which develops during the heating-up period, may become meaningful and
helpful. It should however be noted that, for service conditions at constant
temperatures, the duration of the ‘delayed transient creep’ component could be small

Jenny Burridge
Concrete & Fire 31
Version 1
Chap 3 Fig 3.22
29.08.08
Amendments
23.02.09, 24.06.09

Performance of concLATEST.indd 31 15/02/2011 10:08:54


3 Material behaviour

when compared with the total duration at temperature – possibly lasting for years in
nuclear reactors. Designers may, in this case, regard transient creep, including the
delayed component, in their long-term analysis to be simply a function of temperature
and not of time.

Currently, the design codes(8–10) do not adequately cover load-induced thermal strains.

3.8 Reinforcement All steels will reduce in strength and stiffness as they are heated. The reduction in
strength of reinforcing steel depends on its composition and process of manufacture.
Any work-hardening effect, due to cold drawing or cold twisting, is reduced as the steel
is heated. Similarly, any heat-treating effect is removed once the treatment temperature
is reached.

Based on material tests, BS EN 1992-1-2 gives reduction factors for hot-rolled bars, cold-
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worked bars, cold-worked prestressing wires and strands, and quenched and tempered
prestressing bars.

3.8.1 Reinforcing bars BS EN 1992-1-2 clause 3.2.3 presents a stress–strain relationship of reinforcing steel at
elevated temperatures as shown in Figure 3.26. The relationship expressed by:

for ε ≤ εsp,θ Et,θ = Es,θ s = ε Es,θ

for εsp,θ < ε < εsy,θ Et,θ =


b(εsy,θ -ε) b
s = fsp,θ -c + a √ a - (ε
2
sy,θ
-ε)2
a √a 2
- (εsy,θ -ε)2
for εsy,θ ≤ ε ≤ εst,θ Et,θ = 0 s = fsy,θ

[ ]
ε-ε
for εst,θ < ε < εsu,θ s = fsy,θ 1- ε - st,θ
εst,θ
su,θ

for ε ≥ ε su,θ s = 0.0

In the choice of the parameter values (such as the reduction factors for effective yield
strength, proportional limit and slope of linear elastic range) for the stress–strain
relationship of hot-rolled and cold-drawn reinforcing steel, the code divides the
reinforcing steel into two classes: Class N and Class X. The choice of Class N is
recommended and Class X may only be used when there is experimental evidence to
support the use of these values.

(
a2 = (εsy,θ -εsp,θ ) εsy,θ - εsp,θ + c
Es,θ )

b = c (εsy,θ - εsp,θ ) Es,θ + c
2 2

(fsy,θ - fsp,θ)2

c =
(εsy,θ - εsp,θ ) Es,θ - 2 (fsy,θ - fsp,θ)

32

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Material behaviour 3

Table 3.4 and Figure 3.27 show the values of the various reduction factors for Class N
reinforcement. The different sets of values are assigned to hot-rolled and cold-worked
reinforcement, respectively. The reduction factors for the proportional limit fsp,θ /fyk and
the slope for the linear elastic range Es,θ /Es are applicable to both tension and
compression reinforcement. However, the reduction factor of the characteristic strength
fsy,θ /fyk depends on the application of the reinforcement in structural members. For
tension reinforcement in beams and slabs where the strain ≥ 2%, the values presented in
columns (2) and (3) in Table 3.4 may be used for hot-rolled and cold-worked
reinforcement, respectively. For compression reinforcement in columns and in
compressive zones of beams and slabs, as well as the tension reinforcement with strain <
2%, the values presented in column (4) in Table 3.4 may be used for both hot rolled and
cold worked reinforcement. Figure 3.27 shows that the reduction factor for the
characteristic strength for compression reinforcement is lower than that of tension
reinforcement.
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The values of the reduction factors of effective yield strength fsy,θ /fyk, proportional limit
fsp,θ /fyk and slope of linear elastic range Es,θ /Es for Class X reinforcement are tabulated in
Table 3.5 and illustrated in Figure 3.28. For Class X reinforcement, hot-rolled and cold-
worked reinforcement are not separately considered. The reduction factor of the
characteristic strength fsy,θ /fyk depends on the action in the reinforcement in structural
members. For tension reinforcement in beams and slabs, where the strain ≥ 2%, the
values of column (2) in Table 3.5 may be used. For compression reinforcement in
columns and compressive zones of beams and slabs, as well as the tension reinforcement
with strain < 2%, the values of column (3) in Table 3.5 may be used.

Figure 3.26
Stress–strain relationships of reinforcing Stress 
and prestressing steel at elevated
fsy,
temperatures (replace subscript ‘s’ with
‘p’ for prestressing steel) derived from
BS EN 1992-1-2(8)
Tangent modulus Et,

fsp,

Es,  = tan

Note:
Class A reinforcement: εst,θ = 0.15; εsu,θ = 0.20 sp,  sy,  st, su,  Strain
= fsp, / Es, = 0.02 = 0.15 = 0.20
Values of εpt,θ and εpu,θ for prestressing steel
are given in Table 3.6

Note: Class A reinforcement: st,  = 0.15; su,  = 0.20


Values of pt,  and pu,  for prestressing steel are given in Table 3.6

33

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3 Material behaviour

Table 3.4
Class N values of reduction factors for
Steel fsy,θ /fyk fsp,θ /fyk Es,θ /Es
stress–strain relationship of reinforcing Temperature Tension1 Compression2
steel at elevated temperatures in θ (°C)
accordance with BS EN 1992-1-2(8). hot cold hot rolled and hot cold hot cold
rolled worked cold worked rolled worked rolled worked

20 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00

100 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00

200 1.00 1.00 1.00 0.81 0.87 0.90 0.87

300 1.00 1.00 1.00 0.61 0.72 0.80 0.72

400 1.00 0.94 0.70 0.42 0.56 0.70 0.56

500 0.78 0.67 0.57 0.36 0.40 0.60 0.40

600 0.47 0.40 0.34 0.18 0.24 0.31 0.24

700 0.23 0.12 0.10 0.07 0.08 0.13 0.08


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800 0.11 0.11 0.08 0.05 0.06 0.09 0.06

900 0.06 0.08 0.06 0.04 0.05 0.07 0.05

1000 0.04 0.05 0.04 0.02 0.03 0.05 0.03


Note
1. Tension reinforcement 1100 0.02 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.02 0.02 0.02
for strain ≥ 2%
2. Compression reinforcement and tension
reinforcement for strain < 2%
1200 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

1.0
fsy, tension rebar (hot-rolled)
for strain  2%
fsy, tension rebar (cold worked)
for strain  2 %
0.8 fsy, compression and tension
rebar for strain < 2%
fsp, hot-rolled rebar

fsp, cold worked rebar


Reduction factor

0.6
Es, hot-rolled rebar

Es, cold worked rebar


0.4

0.2
Class N reinforcing steel

0
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
Temperature (oC)

Figure 3.27
Reduction factors for stress–strain
relationship of Class N reinforcing steel at
elevated temperatures derived from BS
EN 1992-1-2(8).

34

Performance of concLATEST.indd 34 15/02/2011 10:08:55


Material behaviour 3

Table 3.5
Class X values of reduction factors for
Steel fsy,θ /fyk fsp,θ /fyk Es,θ /Es
stress–strain relationship of reinforcing Temperature Tension1 Compression2
steel at elevated temperatures in θ (°C)
accordance with BS EN 1992-1-2(8). hot rolled and hot rolled and cold hot rolled and hot rolled and
cold worked worked cold worked cold worked

20 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00

100 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00

200 1.00 0.93 0.87 0.95

300 1.00 0.87 0.74 0.90

400 0.90 0.80 0.70 0.75

500 0.70 0.60 0.51 0.60

600 0.47 0.33 0.18 0.31

700 0.23 0.15 0.07 0.13


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800 0.11 0.08 0.05 0.09

900 0.06 0.05 0.04 0.07

1000 0.04 0.04 0.02 0.04


Note
1. Tension reinforcement 1100 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.02
for strain ≥ 2%
2. Compression reinforcement and tension
reinforcement for strain < 2%
1200 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

1.0
fsy, tension rebar (hot-rolled and
cold worked) for strain  2%
fsy, compression and tension rebar
(hot rolled and cold worked)
0.8 for strain  2 %
fsp, hot-rolled and cold worked
rebar
Es, hot-rolled and cold worked rebar
Reduction factor

0.6

0.4

0.2
Class X reinforcing steel

0
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
Temperature (oC)

Figure 3.28
Reduction factors for stress–strain
relationship of Class X reinforcing steel at
elevated temperatures derived from
BS EN 1992-1-2(8).

35

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3 Material Behaviour

3.8.2 Prestressing steel Prestressing steel is usually produced in the form of wire, strand and bar. Wire is made by
cold drawing high carbon steel rod through a series of reducing dies. Strand is made
from cold-drawn wires twisted together. Bar is produced by hot-rolling low-alloy steel
which is then cold-worked by stretching to obtain the specified characteristic
strength(37,38).

BS EN 1992-1-2(8) provides the identical mathematical formulae for stress–strain


relationships of prestressing steel at elevated temperatures as of reinforcing steel (see
Figures 3.27 and 3.29) except for the parameters εpt,θ and εpu,θ which should be taken
from Table 3.6. The reduction factors for effective yield strength, proportional limit and
slope of linear elastic range are given in Table 3.6 and illustrated in Figure 3.29.

Steel Cold worked wires and strands Quenched and tempered bars All types
temperature,
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fpy,θ fpp,θ Ep,θ fpy,θ fpp,θ Ep,θ εpt,θ εpu,θ


θ (oC)
0.9 fyk 0.9 fyk Ep 0.9 fyk 0.9 fyk Ep

20 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 0.050 0.100

100 0.99 0.68 0.98 0.77 0.76 0.98 0.050 0.100

200 0.87 0.51 0.92 0.62 0.61 0.95 0.050 0.100

300 0.72 0.32 0.86 0.58 0.52 0.88 0.055 0.105

400 0.46 0.13 0.69 0.52 0.41 0.81 0.060 0.110

500 0.22 0.07 0.26 0.14 0.20 0.54 0.065 0.115

600 0.10 0.05 0.21 0.11 0.15 0.41 0.070 0.120

700 0.08 0.03 0.15 0.09 0.10 0.10 0.075 0.125

800 0.05 0.02 0.09 0.06 0.06 0.07 0.080 0.130

900 0.03 0.01 0.04 0.03 0.03 0.03 0.085 0.135

1000 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.090 0.140

1100 – – – – – – 0.095 0.145

1200 – – – – – – 0.100 0.150

Table 3.6
Reduction factors for stress–strain
relationship of prestressing reinforcing
steel at elevated temperatures in
accordance with BS EN 1992-1-2.

36

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Material behaviour 3

1.0
fpy, cold worked
fpy, quenched and tempered
fpp, cold worked
0.8
fpp, quenched and tempered
Ep, cold worked
Ep, quenched and tempered
Reduction factor

0.6

0.4

0.2
Prestressing steel
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0
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
Temperature (oC)

Figure 3.29
Reduction factors for stress–strain
relationship of prestressing steel at
elevated temperatures derived from
BS EN 1992-1-2.

3.9 Thermal properties Fire assessment and design calculations must include thermal analysis, either separately
or integrated with the mechanical analysis. Thermal analysis is required for both
simplified and complex calculations. It is also required for the analysis of the separating
or load-bearing function. A key to the success of thermal analysis is the appropriate
choice, and use, of the thermal properties. The important thermal properties are:

λ = thermal conductivity (W/mK)


cp = specific heat J/kgK
ρ = density (kg/m3)
ρcp = volumetric specific heat J/m3K
D = thermal diffusivity = λ/ρcp (m2/s)

3.9.1 Thermal diffusivity Thermal diffusivity gives a measure of the rate of heat flow under transient thermal
conditions, and hence how the concrete reacts to changes in temperature. The thermal
Jenny Burridge
Concrete & Fire
diffusivity of normal-weight concrete reduces markedly with the increase in temperature
Version 1 (Figure 3.30) due to the decrease in thermal conductivity and the increase in specific
Chap 3 Fig 3.26
29.08.08.08 heat at elevated temperatures. Since the specific heat changes only modestly with
Amendments
06.02.09, 23.02.09, 24.06.09, 13.11.09 temperature, except when latent heat is being absorbed, the temperature dependence of
diffusivity shows a trend similar to that of thermal conductivity. Time-dependent

37

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3 Material Behaviour

reactions that affect the specific heat of concrete on heating should be reflected in the
corresponding transient variations in the thermal diffusivity of concrete. The fall in
diffusivity with temperature is expected to be less steep for lightweight aggregate
concrete due to the slight increase in its thermal conductivity with temperature.

Figure 3.30
Effect of temperature on the
100
thermal diffusivity of normal-weight
concrete excluding latent heat effects(16)). Calcareous
Compiled from two sources(39,40). Siliceous
90
Silica
Changing thermal diffusivity (%)

Silica

80
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70

60

50

40
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800
o
Temperature ( C)

3.9.2 Thermal conductivity Direct thermal conductivity measurements are carried out at steady-state and not at
transient temperatures as in fire. Physico-hydro-chemical transformations would be
completed at the test temperature. Due to the uncertainty inherent in measuring
thermal conductivity, numerical simulation of fire tests is carried out to compare
measured temperatures over a cross-section with computed values based on measured
thermal conductivity and by a fixed volumetric specific heat curve. If a discrepancy
exists, as it normally does, the values are modified by trial and error until a good
agreement is attained for an indirect evaluation of thermal conductivity under transient
thermal conditions. Although the thermal conductivity of concrete depends on that of
all its constituents, it is largely determined by the type of aggregate used since
aggregates normally constitute 60–80% by volume of concrete. The other important
influence is the moisture content since the thermal conductivity of water, although low,
is much higher than that of air. Although the thermal conductivity of concrete is only
nominally affected by temperature in the usual ambient range(41), it can significantly
change at higher temperatures (Figure 3.31) owing to the physico-chemical structural
changes that take place in concrete upon heating. Thermal conductivity increases by
about 10–20% upon heating to about 60–80°C and then declines significantly to reach
about 70% of its unheated value at 200°C and 60% at about 400°C owing to the loss
of moisture. During cooling, thermal conductivity can increase by as much as 10–20%
owing to the reabsorption of moisture but does not reach its original (prior to heating)
value(16).

Jenny Burridge
38 Concrete & Fire
Version 1
Chap 3 Fig 3.27
29.08.08
Amendments
06.02.09, 23.02.09, 24.06.09

Performance of concLATEST.indd 38 15/02/2011 10:08:57


Material behaviour 3

Figure 3.31
Effect of temperature on the 120
thermal conductivity of initially saturated
Gravel
concrete(42).
Limestone
Serpentine Granite
100

Thermal conductivity (% change)


Quartzite

80

60
Initially wet concrete
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Note
The data are presented
40
in percentage terms. 0 100 200 300 400
The actual initial values differ
o
from concrete to concrete. Temperature ( C)

The conductivity on cooling depends on the temperature level at the start of cooling.
Figure 3.32 illustrates the general pattern of thermal conductivity variations on cooling.
It can be seen that although the conductivity can increase by as much as 10–20% on
cooling, most of the change is irreversible. After cooling to ambient, conductivity falls to
a level still below the original unheated value. On reheating, the conductivity
measurements followed curve a–b in Figure 3.32, reaching a maximum at 50–60°C but
at 105°C the curve returned to the original cooling line. This indicates that the increase
in thermal conductivity with temperature of rewetted cooled concrete is due to the
presence of water and not to any significant restoration of conductivity bonds. First
heating, therefore, leads to a change of the state resulting from physico-chemical
transformations. Further heat treatments only bring about slight variations in relation to
temperature as long as the initial maximum temperature is not exceeded.

The temperature function given in Figures 3.31 and 3.32 indicate general trends for
thermal conductivity in percentage terms. In actual values, the thermal conductivity of
different concretes varies according to type. Thermal conductivities at ambient
temperatures of three broad groups of initially saturated concrete are presented in Figure
3.33. In order of increasing thermal conductivity these are:

„„ lightweight
„„ igneous amorphous
„„ igneous crystalline
„„ sedimentary
„„ carbonate
„„ siliceous.
Jenny Burridge
Concrete & Fire
Version 1
Chap 3 Fig 3.28 For concrete the differences can be as large as 3 to 1.
04.08.08
Amendments
06.02.09, 23.02.09, 24.06.09

39

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3 Material Behaviour

Figure 3.32
Effect of first heating (a) and 120
cooling (b) and subsequent heating (c) on
the thermal conductivity of normal-
weight concrete(16) compiled from three 110
sources(40,43,44). (a)

100

Thermal conductivity (% change)


Heating
90

80
(c)

70 Reheating

Cooling
60
(b)

50 (b) Cooling (b)


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40
0 100 200 300 400 500 600
o
Temperature ( C)

In BS EN 1992-1-2(8) section 3.3.3, the thermal conductivity of concrete λc (in W/mK), for
20°C ≤ θc ≤ 1200°C, can be determined between the lower and upper limit values as
follows:

{
2 - 0.2451 (θc /100) + 0.0107 (θc /100)2 for upper limit
λc =
1.36 - 0.136 (θc /100) + 0.0057 (θc /100)2 for lower limit

The variation of the upper limit and lower limit of thermal conductivity with
temperature is shown in Figure 3.34. The thermal conductivity λc (in W/mK) of
lightweight concrete is also shown in the figure and is determined from the following:

{
1.0 - (θc /1600) for 20oC ≤θc ≤800oC
λc =
0.5 for θ c > 800°C

The value of thermal conductivity, within the range of the lower and upper limit, is
defined in the National Annex for each member state. In the UK National Annex(45) the
lower limit value is recommended.

Jenny Burridge
Concrete & Fire
Version 1
Chap 3 Fig 3.29
01.09.08
Amendments
09.02.09, 23.02.09, 26.02.09, 24.06.09

40

Performance of concLATEST.indd 40 15/02/2011 10:08:58


Material behaviour 3

Figure 3.33
Effect of aggregate type and 5.0
content on the thermal conductivity of
saturated concretes at ambient
temperature(42).

Range for
normal
4.0 concrete
Siliceous

Thermal conductivity (W/m C)


o

3.0

Igneous
chrystalline &
sedimentary
carbonate
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2.0

Igneous
amorphous

Lightweight
1.0

0
0 25 50 75 100
Aggregate volume (%)

Figure 3.34
Thermal conductivity of concretes at 2.0
elevated temperatures according to NWC & HSC - Upper limit
BS EN 1992-1-2(8).
Thermal conductivity (W/m K)

1.6

NWC & HSC - Lower limit


1.2

0.8
LWC

0.4

0
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
o
Temperature ( C)

Jenny Burridge
Concrete & Fire
Version 1
Chap 3 Fig 3.30
01.09.08
Amendments 24.06.09
41

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3 Material Behaviour

3.9.3 Density The changes in density of concrete are related to weight changes, thermal dilation and
changes in porosity. In the unsealed condition, these reflect the influences of the
physico-chemical transformations that include water dilation up to about 80°C, loss of
free and physically bound water at 100–200°C depending on the section size and
heating rate, followed by the loss of chemically bound water for temperatures above
100°C, the dissociation of calcium hydroxide at about 400–500°C, and de-carbonation
above 600°C. In concrete, the role of the aggregate is important in terms of thermal
dilation and the dissociation of some aggregates such as carbonate aggregates that
display a very significant reduction in density above 600°C and a marked increase in
porosity. Basalt and quartzite aggregates exhibit a more gradual reduction in density,
reflecting that of the cement paste and dilation of the aggregate (Figure 3.35). Figure
3.36 shows the variations of true density, bulk density and porosity for cement paste.

Figure 3.35
Density of concretes with four 2.4
different aggregates plotted against
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temperature(46,47).
2.2 Basalt
Limestone I

2.0
Quartzite
Density (g/cm )

Limestone II
3

1.8

1.6

Expanded shale
1.4

1.2
Note 0 200 400 600 800 1000
Limestone concrete results o
from two different authors. Temperature ( C)

Figure 3.36 0.65


True density, bulk density and
porosity of cement paste plotted against
temperature, calculated by Harmathy(48). 1.6 3.1 0.60

Porosity
1.5 3.0 0.55
True density (g/cm )
3
Bulk density (g/cm )
3

1.4 2.9 0.50


Porosity

1.3 2.8 0.45

1.2 2.7 0.40


Bulk density

1.1 2.6 True density 0.35

1.0 2.5
0 200 400 600 800 1000
o
Temperature ( C)

42

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Material behaviour 3

In BS EN 1992-1-2(8) clause 3.3.2(3) the variation of density of ‘concrete’ ρc,θ with


temperature is influenced by free water loss and is defined as follows:

{
ρc,20 for 20oC ≤θc ≤ 115oC
ρc,20 [1 - 0.02(θ - 115)/85] for 115oC <θc ≤ 200oC
ρc,θ =
ρc,20 [0.98 - 0.03(θ - 200)/200] for 200oC <θc ≤ 400oC
ρc,20 [0.95 - 0.07(θ - 400)/800] for 400oC <θc ≤ 1200oC

where ρc,20 is concrete density at ambient temperature.

The variation of the ratio of ρc,θ to ρc,20 with respect to temperature is shown in
Figure 3.37.
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Figure 3.37
Density of concrete at elevated
temperatures derived from
BS EN 1992-1-2(8). 1.05

1.00

0.95

0.90

0.85
ρc,θ/ρc,20

0.80

0.75
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
o
Temperature ( C)

3.9.4 Specific heat The specific heat value is sensitive to the various transformations that take place in
concrete at elevated temperatures. These include the vaporisation of free water at about
100°C, the dissociation of Ca(OH)2 into CaO and H2O at about 400–500°C and the
a–b quartz transformation in some aggregates. These time-dependent changes are
accompanied by the absorption of latent heat and are indicated by an apparent transient
increase in specific heat. Specific heat is sometimes separated into ‘sensible’ heat and
‘latent’ heat based on the degree of physico-chemical transformations. The specific heat
capacity of concrete is not only nominally affected by the mineralogical character of the
aggregate but is also not very sensitive to the proportion of aggregate since the specific
heat of aggregates are similar to that of the cement paste. The latent heat effects in
concrete are, furthermore, less important owing to the presence of the aggregate whose
stability is normally higher than that of the cement paste. The specific heat of concrete,
however, increases considerably with an increase in moisture content due to the high
specific heat of water (4.29 kJ/kg°C). A typical value for saturated concrete at 20°C is 1.0
kJ/kg°C. The value, however, may vary(49) between 0.7 and 1.5 kJ/kg°C. Heating initially

43

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3 Material behaviour

saturated concrete causes a rapid but temporary rise in specific heat at approximately(50)
90°C of up to 380% due to the rapid release of free water from the concrete and the
absorption of latent heat of vaporisation (Figure 3.38). Heating permanently saturated
(sealed) concrete apparently leads to similar variations in specific heat as in pre-dried
concrete(42) but the dramatic increase at 90°C would not be expected to occur.

Figure 3.38
Effect of temperature on the 400
specific heat of concrete excluding latent
Gravel
heat effects above 200°C(16) compiled
from four sources(50,51,39,42). Serpentine
380
Siliceous
Calcareus
340

300
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Initially wet
Specific heat (%)

260

220

180 Predried

140

100

60
0 200 400 600
o
Temperature ( C)

In BS EN 1992-1-2(8) clause 3.3.2 the specific heat of dry concrete cp,θ (in J/kgK) (i.e.
moisture content by weight u = 0%) can be determined by:
For siliceous and calcareous aggregates:

{
900 for 20oC ≤ θc ≤ 100oC
900+(θc - 100) for 100oC < θc ≤ 200oC
cp,θ =
1000+(θc -200)/2 for 200oC < θc ≤ 400oC
1100 for 400oC < θc ≤ 1200oC

The specific heat cp (in J/kgK) of lightweight concrete may be considered to be


independent of the concrete temperature:

cp,θ =840 J/kgK

The variation of the specific heat with temperature is shown in Figure 3.39.

44 Jenny Burridge
Concrete & Fire
Version 1
Chap 3 Fig 3.35
03.09.08
Amendments
11.02.09, 26.02.09, 25.06.09
Performance of concLATEST.indd 44 15/02/2011 10:09:00
Material behaviour 3

Figure 3.39
2.5
Specific heat of concretes at
elevated temperatures NWC (u = 3%)
derived from BS EN 1992-1-2(8). 2.0

Specific heat (kJ/kg K)


NWC (u = 1.5%)

1.5

1.0

LWC
NWC (u = 0%)
0.5

0
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
o
Temperature ( C)
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Where the moisture content u is not considered explicitly in analysis, the specific heat of
concrete may be modelled by peak value at 115°C as given below:

{
1470 for u = 1.5%
cp.peak = 2020 for u = 3.0%
5600 for u = 10.0%

The value of u = 10.0% may occur for steel hollow sections filled with concrete. For other
moisture contents, linear interpolation between the above given values is acceptable.
The peak values of specific heat as in BS EN 1992-1-2(8) are shown in Figure 3.39.

Jenny Burridge
Concrete & Fire
Version 1
Chap 3 Fig 3.36
03.09.08
Amendments
23.02.09, 25.06.09

45

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4 Basic concepts of fire behaviour

4. Basic concepts of fire behaviour

Understanding the behaviour of fire is very complex and is governed by a number of


factors such as the fuel type, density and distribution, together with compartment
layout, ventilation and thermal properties of the compartment boundaries. This chapter
explains the basic concepts of fire behaviour, the fire curves used in standard fire tests,
together with failure criteria and introduces the design methods currently available to
designers, to provide a more realistic estimate of the fire severity throughout the
duration of the fire. These methods are presented in BS EN 1991-1-2 and range in
complexity from simple hand calculations to advanced computational fluid dynamics
(CFD).
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4.1 Compartment fires For a fire to start, three elements must be present simultaneously: oxygen (21% volume
in air), combustible materials and a heat source. These make up what it is generally
referred to as the fire triangle. Removal of any of these three elements will terminate the
reaction and extinguish the fire. The first two elements combust when the ignition
temperature is reached. The combustion of carbon produces carbon dioxide (CO2) and, if
there is a shortage of oxygen, it produces carbon monoxide (CO).

The behaviour of a fire within an enclosed space (compartment) is different from the
behaviour of a fire in the open. Enclosing a fire has the effect of increasing the radiant
heat returned to the sources of fuel within the compartment. The basic development of
an enclosed uncontrolled compartment fire can be divided into a number of stages, as
shown in Figure 4.1, with each stage described in Table 4.1.

Figure 4.1
Temperature–time curve for an
enclosed fire. Growth Fully developed Decay
Flashover
Temperature

Extinction
phase phase phase

Ignition Time

46

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Basic concepts of fire behaviour 4

Table 4.1
Stages of an enclosed
Fire stage of an Description
compartment fire(52). enclosed fire
Growth phase Ignition defines the beginning of the fire development. At the initial
(pre-flashover) growth phase, the fire will normally be small and localised within the
compartment and may stop at this stage. Smoke and combustion
products (pyrolysis) will accumulate beneath the ceiling, gradually forming
a hotter upper layer in the compartment, with a relatively cooler and
cleaner layer at the bottom. With sufficient supply of fuel and oxygen, and
without the interruption of fire-fighting or other active measures, the fire
will continue to grow with release of more hot gases and pyrolysis to the
smoke layer. The smoke layer will descend as it becomes thicker. If the
growth of the fire is slow due to lack of oxygen or combustible material in
the proximity of the fire then the fire remains localised.

Flashover If the development of the fire causes the gases in the compartment to
become sufficiently hot (approximately 550–600°C) then sudden ignition
of all combustible objects within the compartment will occur. This
phenomenon is known as flashover, with the whole compartment
engulfed in fire.
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Fully developed phase After flashover, the fire enters a fully developed stage with the rate of heat
(post-flashover) release reaching a maximum and the burning rate remaining substantially
steady. The burning rate may be limited by the availability of ventilation or
fuel. Normally this is the most critical stage which, unless controlled, can
lead to widespread structural damage and fire spread to other
compartments.

Decay phase After a period of sustained burning, the rate of burning decreases as the
combustible materials are consumed and the fire enters the decay phase.

Extinction The fire will eventually cease when all combustible materials have been
consumed and there is no more energy being released, or when
extinguished.

4.1.1 Modelling fire severity Generally, the factors influencing the severity of a compartment fire can be summarised
as follows:

„„ fire load type, density and distribution


„„ combustion behaviour of fire load*
„„ compartment size and geometry
„„ ventilation conditions of compartment
„„ thermal properties of the compartment boundaries.

The occurrence of flashover in a compartment fire defines a transition in the fire


development process. Therefore, many fire models are classified either as pre- or post-
flashover models, except for CFD models which attempt to model all stages of the fire
growth.

*The fire load is the calorific value of the combustible


materials expressed in mega-joules (MJ).

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4 Basic concepts of fire behaviour

There are a number of design models available to calculate the fire severity; these are as
follows:

„„ Standard/nominal fire models


– standard, external and hydrocarbon fires.
„„ Time equivalence – relates standard fires to real fires.
„„ Parametric fire models – for post-flashover fires.
„„ Localised fires – for pre-flashover fires.
„„ External window fires – for fires through external openings of the
fire compartment.
„„ Zone models – one-zone models for pre-flashover fires.
– two-zone models for post-flashover fires.
„„ CFD or field models – for general fire and smoke modelling.

Zone models are mathematical models that divide the fire compartment into different
zones and define the temperature in each zone based on the conservation of mass and
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energy. CFD is used to solve the fluid movement within a compartment to predict
smoke and fire development. The use of CFD models allows for temperature, velocity,
toxic content and visibility information at various points within a compartment.

The level of complexity increases from simple fire models to field models as shown in
Figure 4.2. The zone and CFD models are classed as ‘advanced models’, with the rest
classed as simple models. The input parameters for each of these models are quite
different, with the advanced models requiring very detailed input data and simple
models requiring little input.

Figure 4.2
Options for fire modelling in
Nominal fires
compartments(52).
Standard fires
Fire behaviour External fires
Hydrocarbon fires
Smouldering fires
Increase in complexity

Times equivalences

Compartment fires
Parametric fires
Localised fires
Window fires

Zone models

CFD / Field models

The standard fire curves used in standard fire tests are not based on any physical
parameters but a set of pre-defined time–temperature values. They bear no relation to
real fires and the fire resistance time given from these tests bears no relation to the
actual time that a structure will remain viable in a real fire. The time equivalence, natural
(parametric) fire curves, localised fires, zone models and CFD models include (to varying

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Basic concepts of fire behaviour 4

degrees) the physical parameters of fire load, combustion behaviour, compartment


characteristics, ventilation conditions, and thermal properties of the compartment
boundaries.

Pre-flashover fires can be modelled using localised fires, two-zone models and CFD
models. Post-flashover fires are modelled using natural (parametric) fire curves, one-
zone models and CFD models, with the time equivalence providing a simple approach
for relating post-flashover fires to the time–temperature relationship used in a standard
fire test. The major assumption of these post-flashover models is that the atmospheric
temperature throughout the compartment is assumed to be uniform. CFD models
attempt to predict the complete fire growth from pre- to post-flashover behaviour,
incorporating varying temperature distributions through the compartment.

When considering the fire behaviour, the designer needs to define whether the fire
remains localised or if flashover occurs resulting in a fully developed fire. A localised fire
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will occur when there is no spread of fire to the whole compartment due to the
propagation being so slow that the temperature rise is not sufficient to cause flashover,
or there is insufficient combustible material in close proximity to the source of the fire. It
is generally accepted(53,54) that flashover transition occurs when the upper smoke layer
reaches temperatures of about 550 to 600°C or the radiation to the floor exceeds about
20 kW/m2.

Scenarios where localised fires are most likely to occur include:

„„ large high spaces with relatively limited fire load, such as atria, circulation areas in
airports, shopping malls, etc.
„„ areas where there are high levels of ventilation such as in open canopies, typically at
hotel entrances, under link bridges at airports, etc.
„„ areas where fire load can be reliably controlled to relatively low levels or spaced such
that fire cannot readily spread from one area of fire load to another.

The only feasible design method to stop flashover in a compartment, where there is
sufficient ventilation, is to limit the fuel and distance between fuel items or to use a
suppression system. Design methods for determining flashover are presented in the
CIBSE Guide(55) on Fire Engineering or PD 7974-1(54).

4.1.2 Standard/nominal fire Standard (or nominal) fire curves are the simplest way to represent the behaviour of a
curves fire within a design approach. The standard temperature–time relationships were
developed to allow classification of building materials and elements in standard fire
resistance furnace tests. The temperature–time relationships do not represent real fire
scenarios and do not explicitly take into account ventilation, fire load, compartment size
and thermal characteristics of the compartment boundaries. In addition, the standard
fire curves for buildings and hydrocarbon fires do not include the cooling stage of a fire.
Some tunnel standard fire curves do include a cooling branch (e.g. German RABT and
ZTV fire curves; see Chapter 9).

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4 Basic concepts of fire behaviour

BS EN 1991-1-2(11) provides three nominal fire curves defined as the standard, external
and hydrocarbon fire. The temperature–time response is defined below.

a) For the standard fire:


Θg = 20 + 345 log10 (8t + 1)

b) For the external fire:


Θg = 600(1-0.687e -0.32t -0.313e -0.38t ) + 20

c) For the hydrocarbon fire:


Θg = 1080(1-0.325e -0.167t -0.675e -2.5t ) + 20

where
Θg is the gas temperature in the fire compartment or near the member (°C)
t is the time (min).
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PD 7974-1(54) clause 8.2.2.5 adopts the same equations for the standard and
hydrocarbon fires. However, the code provides an alternative fire curve for large pool
hydrocarbon fire, as well as a slow-growing fire, as follows:

a) For large pool hydrocarbon fire:


Θg = 1100(1-0.325e -0.167t -0.204e -1.417t -0.471e -15.833t ) + 20

b) For smouldering fire:

Θg = { 154t 0.25 + 20 for 0 min < t ≤ 21 min


345 log10 [8(t - 20) + 1] + 20 for t > 21 min

where
Θg is the gas temperature in the fire compartment (°C)
t is the time (min).

Figure 4.3 shows the comparison between the various nominal fire curves, where it can
be seen that over a period of 2 h the hydrocarbon fire is the most severe followed by the
standard fire. The external fire is the least severe, while the slow-heating fire represents
the lowest temperature up to 30 min. For the standard and smouldering fires, the
temperature continuously increases with time. For the external fire, the temperature
remains constant at 680°C, after approximate 22 min; whereas for the hydrocarbon
fires, the temperatures remain constant at 1100°C (hydrocarbon fire) and 1120°C (large
pool hydrocarbon fire) after approximate 40 min.

More severe hydrocarbon curves have been developed recently following major fires in
tunnels, which revealed that more extreme fire scenarios had to be considered. The
Netherlands has developed the ‘RWS’ curve, simulating the behaviour in fire of tankers
transporting petrol with a calorific value of 300 MW, generating a temperature of
1350°C and causing a fire that lasts 2 hours. The Netherlands developed this curve as a
realistic and essential thermal calculation reference to guarantee the behaviour of its
tunnels passing beneath hydraulic works.

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Basic concepts of fire behaviour 4

1200
Hydrocarbon fire -
BS EN 1991 &
1000 PD 7974

Large pool
800 hydrocarbon fire -
Temperature ( C)

PD 7974
o

600 Standard fire -


BS EN 1991 &
PD 7974

400
Smouldering fire -
PD 7974

200
External fire -
BS EN 1991
0
0 20 40 60 80 100 120
Time (min)
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Figure 4.3
Nominal temperature–time
curves.
The Germans have developed another curve, known as the RABT curve (sometimes
known as the ZTV), which is less severe than the RWS curve, rising to 1200°C for ½ h
before falling linearly to ambient temperature after 170 min.

A new curve, different from the RWS and RABT curves, known by the name ‘increased
hydrocarbons curve’ (IHC), has also been created by increasing the hydrocarbon curve by
18%. The temperature plateau is therefore 1300°C. The IHC is often called the
‘modified’ hydrocarbon curve (HCM), especially in France, and on occasions it is called
the ‘enhanced’ hydrocarbon curve.

4.2 Fire resistance The standard fire curve is used to classify the fire resistance of members. The definition
of fire resistance should be clearly understood by designers, since there is often a
misconception that the stated fire resistance of elements (i.e. 30, 60, 90 or 120 min) is
directly related to the time that the building will withstand the effects of fire without
collapse. Fire resistance of elements is the measure of time that an element, whether it
is a structural element, a fire door, or a non-structural compartment wall, will survive in
a standard fire test under certain criteria. It does not mean that the element or building
will maintain these criteria for an equivalent duration in a real fire.

The history(56) of the standard fire test can be traced back to the 1890s when early
attempts at establishing the fire behaviour of structural elements were made at the
Jenny Burridge behest of insurance companies or building authorities in the USA. In 1917 the first
Concrete & Fire
Version 1 standard(57), for the fire tests on floors and partitions, was issued by the American
Chap 4 Fig 4.3
04.09.08 Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). In 1933 a more comprehensive Standard
Amendments
09.02.09
(E119)(58), dealing with all types of building elements, was produced which superseded
the ASTM Standard. In the UK the first edition of BS 476(59), dealing with fire-resisting
testing, was published in 1932. Subsequent revisions of the standard have attempted to
harmonise the heating curve on an international basis, leading to the international

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4 Basic concepts of fire behaviour

Standard ISO 834(60). The latest European Standard BS EN 1363-1(61) has revised the
method of measuring the heating curve, by replacing the bead thermocouple with the
plate thermocouple, in an attempt to standardise test furnaces across Europe. At first
sight the effect of changing the type of thermocouple used to measure the heat input
would appear to be insignificant. However, using the plate thermocouple results in the
tested members being subjected to more heat during the early stages of the test. This
may result in some members failing the test to BS EN 1363-1 despite having passed the
previous BS 476(62) test. However, due to concrete’s low thermal conductivity, the effect
of slightly higher heat exposure in the early stages does not affect the overall behaviour
in the standard test.

For structural elements there are approved furnaces where a standard configuration of a
wall, beam, floor or column can be constructed and tested. The dimensions of the
elements are 3 m × 3 m for walls, 4.5 m span for beams, 4 m × 4 m (typically) for floors
and 3 m height for columns. Figure 4.4 shows fire resistance tests conducted on various
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structural elements. The test follows the standard heating curve shown in Figure 4.3,
where the temperature rises continuously.

Figure 4.4
Standard fire tests.

The failure criteria given in all codes covering the standard fire test are similar. In BS EN
1363-1(61) the failure criteria depend on the type of member tested and are defined in
terms of stability R (load-bearing capacity), flame integrity E, and thermal insulation I.
Each of these criteria is explained below.

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Basic concepts of fire behaviour 4

R: Stability (load-bearing capacity)


Defined as the time in minutes in the standard fire test for which the test specimen
continues to maintain its ability to support the test load.

For flexural loaded elements the following failure criteria are adopted:

„„ maximum deflection (mm) is limited to D = L2/400d


„„ maximum rate of deflection, after a deflection of L/30 has been exceeded, is limited
to L2/9000d mm/minute.

where:

L is the clear span of the test specimen (mm)


d is the distance from the extreme fibre of the cold design compression zone to
the extreme fibre of the cold tension zone of the structural section (mm)
D is the deflection measured from the start of heating
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For vertical loaded elements the following failure criteria are adopted:

„„ maximum vertical contraction (mm) is limited to C = h/100, and


„„ maximum rate of vertical contraction is limited to 3h/1000 mm/minute.

where:

h is the initial height (mm).

E: Flame integrity
Defined as the time in minutes in the standard fire test for which the test specimen
continues to maintain its separating function during the test without either:

„„ causing the ignition of a cotton pad placed against the surface of the test specimen, or
„„ permitting the penetration of a gap gauge (in accordance with BS EN 1363), or
„„ resulting in sustained flaming.

I: Thermal insulation
Defined as the time in minutes in the standard fire test for which the test specimen
continues to maintain its separating function during the test without either:

„„ an increase in the average initial temperature of more than 140°C, or


„„ an increase at any location of the initial temperature of more than 180°C.

Based on extensive testing in standard fire tests, throughout Europe, simple tables giving
cover or axis distance to reinforcement bars and minimum geometric sizes from
BS EN 1992-1-2 are given in section 7.2 Tabulated methods.

The concept of fire resistance, and the standard fire test, has the considerable advantage of
being easily understood by designers and checking authorities. To date it has been shown
to be an adequate approach for ensuring a minimum level of fire safety to buildings.
However, the standard test has a number of disadvantages in that it does not consider the

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4 Basic concepts of fire behaviour

effect of tying, restraint to thermal expansion, alternative load paths in actual buildings,
real fire behaviour, behaviour during the cooling stages of the fire, and large spans.

4.3 Reaction to fire Reaction to fire tests are carried out to assess the contribution of a material to fire
growth in the early stages of the fire. The risk of fire can be significantly reduced with
careful specification of construction materials. The reaction to fire tests is generally
smaller in scale compared to the fire resistance tests. Currently, the supporting technical
documents to the UK Building Regulations accept classification using the National or
European standards. This is to allow manufacturers to update their products to the
European standard method of testing and classification. If a manufacturer wishes to sell
in Europe, a CE mark (see section 6.2) will be required which must include the European
classification to the reaction to fire. It is not possible to carry out National tests (or use
previous National tests) to define the European class. Tests to the European standards
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are required to allow European classification and CE marking.

All products excluding floors are classified, using the European classification system, as
A1, A2, B, C, D, E or F, with Class A1 being the highest performance and F being the
lowest, in accordance with BS EN 13501-1(63). The National classification system is ‘Non-
Combustible’, ‘Limited Combustibility’, Class 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4 (with the lower number
indicating little or no combustibility, smoke emission or flame droplets), and
‘Unclassifiable’. It should be noted that the European classification system has three
further classifications relating to smoke emissions (s1, s2 or s3) and the production of
flaming droplets/particles (d0, d1 or d2).

Concrete and masonry are classed as A1 in the European system and ‘Non-Combustible’
in the National system. Any element constructed using concrete and masonry, provided
it has no more than 1% by weight or volume of organic material, is considered to be
Class A1 or ‘Non-Combustible’ without the need for testing.

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Protection and risks 5

5. Protection and risks


Any design must consider the perceived risk to life, property and the environment, with
the final design mitigating these risks to a reasonable level. In terms of designing for any
possible fire, the risk could strongly influence the choice of material used for the
structure and containment of any possible fire. With concrete providing a high inherent
fire resistance, and robustness to impact damage, it can be used effectively to ensure
structural stability and contain any fire, affording a reasonable level of safety to life (in
terms of occupants, fire-fighters and people in the proximity of the building), property
protection and damage to the environment.

This chapter introduces the risks associated with fires in buildings and the levels of
protection considering passive and active measures. The discipline of structural fire
engineering is also introduced. Structural fire engineering is a growing practice since it
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allows designers to consider explicitly the likely fire scenario, thermal response and
structural behaviour. Although the discipline can be applied to all materials, with the
primary materials being covered by Parts 1 - 2 of the material Eurocodes, it has been
driven by the design of steel structures where savings in terms of passive fire protection
can be realised. However, possible cost savings are only one benefit of structural fire
engineering. Other benefits include a better understanding of the structural behaviour, a
better understanding of the levels of safety of the structure and identification of any
weak points. This knowledge will allow the designer to assess the risk of the building in
terms of life safety, property protection and environmental impact. Alternatively, the
design can remain restricted to the prescriptive (deemed-to-satisfy) rules where, for
individual structural elements, the concrete minimum cover to reinforcement and
minimum size are specified. At present these prescriptive rules are equally applied to
simple one-storey structures and to multi-storey iconic structures where the risk and
consequence of failure are clearly different.

5.1 Consideration of risk In a well-protected building there is a balance between risk and protection. For example,
risk is greater in tall buildings because any fire must be attacked from the inside of the
building and the time for evacuation is greater. Risk is also greater in buildings that
contain people with reduced mobility and people who are not familiar with the layout of
the building. The greater the risk the greater the protection required.

The factors to consider in the development of a fire are the:


„„ probability of a fire starting
„„ intensity of any possible fire
„„ speed at which the fire may spread
„„ existence of specific risks (e.g toxic products)

The probability of a fire starting depends on:


„„ heating systems and electrical equipment
„„ the presence of inflammable gas

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5 Protection and risks

„„ certain industrial chemical processes


„„ the susceptibility to arson attack (e.g. schools), terrorist attack (e.g. government
buildings) or accidental explosions (gas, storage of explosive material, etc.)
„„ the presence of dust that could create explosions.

With regard to terrorist attack or accidental explosions, the robustness of the structural
fire resistance should be considered.

The origin of the fire may be:


„„ internal, linked to the:
zz building itself and its contents
zz activities carried on therein (e.g. industrial activities)
zz people who occupy the building (e.g. smokers, waste).

„„ external, linked to:


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zz adjacent buildings (e.g. via windows)


zz neighbouring installations (e.g. liquefied gas)
zz gas mains beneath the public highway.

Its development in the compartment is limited by:

„„ the choice of materials in the buildings; and


„„ the reliability of the technical active-protection installations such as detectors,
alarms, sprinklers, heat and smoke exhaust systems.

Its propagation beyond the compartment is limited by the resistance to fire of the
compartment (passive safety).

5.2 Level of protection The level of protection will depend on the risk associated with the building. The Building
Regulations (see section 6.1) provide a minimum legislative level of life safety for typical
buildings based on the safety of the occupants, fire fighters and people in the proximity
of the building.

However, there are many cases where there may be a need to increase levels of safety to
protect the:

„„ building contents
„„ building superstructure
„„ heritage
„„ business continuity
„„ corporate image of the occupants or owner
„„ environmental impact.

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Protection and risks 5

When assessing the likely impact of a fire in terms of financial loss, both direct and
indirect losses should be considered. The indirect costs relating to loss of business can
be far greater than the direct costs, and in a large number of cases businesses end up
bankrupt following a major fire.

The overall fire strategy will included both passive and active fire measures together with
an overall fire risk assessment. Passive measures are put in place when the building is
constructed and are operational at all times. Active measures may be put in place during
or after construction of the building and only become operational in the event of a fire.

5.3 Passive measures Passive measures include:


„„ structural protection
„„ compartmentation
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„„ building envelope protection.

The structure should have sufficient fire resistance to remain stable, and limit the spread
of the fire, for a reasonable period of time. Buildings are also required to be subdivided
into fire compartments which will restrict the spread of fire, allowing occupants to
escape, and provide property protection. The compartments are separated from one
another by fire-resisting walls and floors (Figure 5.1). For life safety the supporting
technical documents to the Building Regulations (see section 6.1) provide some guidance
on the maximum allowable compartment size depending on the fire load in the building
(based on the building’s use), the height of the building, and whether a sprinkler system
is used. The building envelope should also provide sufficient resistance to the spread of
fire to, or from, neighbouring properties.

Due to their low thermal conductivity, concrete and masonry have an inherent fire
resistance and generally do not require any additional protection to provide the required
fire resistance for structural stability and compartmentation. Most designers will use the
simple prescriptive rules which specify the minimum geometry and cover to the
reinforcement to achieve specified fire resistance periods. Both concrete and masonry
structures also have an inherent robustness and, unlike modern forms of fire protection
(typically applied to steel-framed buildings), are not susceptible to significant levels of
misuse from impact damage.

For property protection the stability of the structure and the integrity of
compartmentation should be maintained for the duration of the fire. To achieve this, a
performance-based structural fire engineering approach is required to consider the
behaviour during both the heating and cooling stage of the fire.

Compartmentation is only as good as its weakest point. For example, if fire doors are
wedged open then the compartmentation is breached. BS 7974-7(64) provides reference
values relating to the reliability of these doors with the probability of fire doors being
wedged open being 30%. The probability of automatic doors not closing correctly is
20%. Another common failure of compartmentation involves the passing of services

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5 Protection and risks

through compartment walls which have not been correctly sealed (fire stopping,
dampeners, etc.) A classic example of compartmentation not being maintained was
highlighted in the Windsor Tower, Madrid(52) where the fire engulfed most of the building
(see section B.2 of Appendix B).

5.4 Active measures The active protective measures allow fires to be tackled by:

„„ automatic detection linked to an alarm system;


„„ extinguishing systems (extinguishers, automatic sprinkler system enabling the size of
the fire to be controlled);
„„ heat and smoke exhaust systems (HSE), which can be partly passive and partly active;
„„ local fire teams and the fire intervention services.
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Guidance on the use of the detection of a fire and activation of fire protection systems is
given in BS 7974-4(65) and guidance on fire service intervention is given in BS 7974-5(66).
Automatic suppression systems (gas or sprinklers) can be used to either control or
extinguish the fire (Figure 5.2). Guidance on the quantitative effect of suppression
systems is given in PD 7974-1(54) and PD 7974-4(65).

Fire suppression systems are chosen to extinguish the fire or to control the fire condition
until manned assistance is summoned to extinguish the fire. The use of sprinklers can
allow compartment sizes to be increased and fire resistance of the structure to be
reduced. BS EN 1991-1-2(11) applies a reduction factor to the design fire load to take into
account the beneficial effect of an automatic suppression system. However, it is
advisable that the probability, and more importantly the consequence, of failure of the
installed system should be considered within the overall fire design.

Different values of reliability of sprinklers have been quoted from various sources.
Reliability values as high as 99% have been quoted, usually to promote the use of
sprinklers. At the other extreme, reliability values as low as 70% have been stated. The
main reason for this range of reliability values is due to the way successful operation is
defined. For example, some studies do not count situations where the sprinkler system is
cut from the mains due to an error in maintenance procedures, which is probably the
most common cause of failure.

PD 7974-7(64) provides the following guidance on the probability that a sprinkler system
will operate successfully:

„„ Maximum: 95% (applicable to new systems in areas where statutory enforcement is


in place).
„„ Typical: 90% (new life safety systems) or 80% (new property protection systems).
„„ Minimum: 75% (older systems).

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Protection and risks 5

Figure 5.1
Concrete tunnel form
structures are a good example of concrete
being used to form robust horizontal and
vertical compartmentation without the
need for additional fire protection.
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Figure 5.2
Effect of automatic suppression
systems on the heat release rate.
Rate of heat release

Uncontrolled

Extinguished by
gas system

Extinguished by
sprinkler system

Time

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5 Protection and risks

5.5 Structural fire Structural fire engineering is not widely understood by those outside the discipline.
engineering Many people confuse structural fire engineering with fire protection engineering, and fire
safety engineering. The confusion may arise from the different terminology used by
different people in different parts of the world.

Both fire safety engineering and fire protection engineering represent a multi-disciplinary
field of science, technology, psychology, management, and law, used to determine the
fire safety strategy for buildings under fire conditions. The definition of fire safety
engineering provided by the UK Institution of Fire Engineers is as follows:

“The application of scientific and engineering principles, rules (Codes), and expert
judgement, based on an understanding of the phenomena and effects of fire and of the
reaction and behaviour of people to fire, to protect people, property and the environment
from the destructive effects of fire.”
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Fire protection engineering is a term more widely used in the USA, with the following
definition provided by the US Society of Fire Protection Engineers:

“Fire protection engineering is the application of science and engineering principles to


protect people and their environment from destructive fire and includes: analysis of fire
hazards; mitigation of fire damage by proper design, construction, arrangement, and use of
buildings, materials, structures, industrial processes, and transportation systems; the design,
installation and maintenance of fire detection and suppression and communication systems;
and post-fire investigation and analysis.”

The application of fire safety engineering and fire protection engineering can be
undertaken at different levels to comply with the legislative requirement of life safety,
from simple prescriptive rules given in the technical documents supporting the Building
Regulations (see section 6.1) to more advanced performance-based approaches as
outlined in BS 7974(67). The performance-based approach can, if used correctly, provide a
more robust and economical solution compared to the simple prescriptive approaches.

The discipline of structural fire engineering involves the knowledge of fire behaviour,
heat transfer and the structural response of the proposed building. It is a discipline that is
progressing apace as clients and engineers realise the economical savings, and increased
robustness, that can be gained from carrying out structural fire calculations.
Traditionally, structural engineers did not venture into fire design, due to their lack of
knowledge of fire behaviour, relying instead on simple prescriptive rules and guidance,
which ensured sufficient passive fire protection to structural members, based on
standard fire tests. Likewise, fire engineers (applying fire safety engineering or fire
protection engineering) also relied on simple prescriptive rules, mainly due to their lack
of knowledge of structural engineering and understanding of how structures behave
under fire load. Structural fire engineering brings together the disciplines of structural
engineering and fire engineering, to allow a performance-based design approach to be
carried out which can allow more economical, robust, innovative and complex buildings
to be constructed.

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The publication of the Eurocodes has encouraged the growth of structural fire
engineering, with the loading code and suite of material response codes having
dedicated fire parts.

There is currently no official definition of structural fire engineering. However, the


following definition captures the salient points of the discipline:

“Structural Fire Engineering is the science and art of designing and constructing
with economy and elegance, buildings, frameworks and other similar structures to
protect people, property and the environment from the destructive effects of fire.”

In most cases designers will not implicitly consider the three components of structural
fire engineering (fire severity, heat transfer to the structure and high-temperature
structural analysis) and will follow simple prescriptive rules or guidance based on fire
Licensed copy from CIS: atkins, Atkins Plc, 10/02/2019, Uncontrolled Copy.

resistance periods. Typical examples of prescriptive approaches consist of specifying a


thickness of applied fire protection to steel members or specifying minimum sizes and
cover to reinforcement for concrete members.

Although, to date, the well-known prescriptive rules have been shown to be generally
adequate for the minimum life-safety requirement, they can be uneconomical,
restrictive and do not provide an understanding of how buildings actually behave in fire.
If the prescriptive rules are followed, they are considered to satisfy the Regulations. By
adopting a performance-based approach to structural fire engineering, where the fire
severity, heat transfer and structural response are considered, more economical designs
can be achieved and more innovative and complex buildings can be constructed. The
performance-based approach also allows an appreciation of how buildings will actually
behave in a fire, with the option of designing more robust buildings. If a performance-
based approach is adopted then the onus is on the designer to demonstrate that the
Regulations have been met.

If, following discussions with the client, there is a need to increase levels of safety to
protect the building contents, the building superstructure, heritage, business continuity,
corporate image of the occupants or owner, and/or the environmental impact then a
performance-based approach should be considered, within an overall risk-based design,
which incorporates fire safety management and active measures. Due to the inherent
fire resistance of concrete and masonry structures, they can be used effectively to
increase the fire resistance of buildings above that required just for life safety.

There are different approaches(52,139), of varying complexities, for a performance-based


structural fire engineering design. The overall complexity of the design depends on the
assumptions and methods adopted to predict each of the three design components
relating to the fire severity, heat transfer and structural response. Figure 5.3 shows
various methods for predicting each of the three design components. It is acceptable to
use any permutation of the design components shown in Figure 5.3, with some general
guidance on using different permutations given in section 5.5.1.3.

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5 Protection and risks

Figure 5.3
Available approaches for the three components of
structural fire engineering design(52).

Plume models

Localised Zone models


fire

CFD

Fire
behaviour Standard fire test
curves

Time
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equivalence

Fully Natural fire


developed curves
fire

Increasing complexity
Zone models

CFD

Test data

Thermal Simple heat


response transfer models

Advanced heat
transfer models

Member behaviour

Structural
Frame behaviour
behaviour

Whole building
behaviour

Jenny Burridge
Concrete & Fire
Version 1
Chap 5 Fig 5.4
27.08.08
Amendments
09.02.09, 23.02.09, 25.06.09

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Increasing the complexity of the structural fire design will lead to increased design costs,
but with the benefit of a greater reduction in the uncertainty of the building response in
a fire and typically a resulting economy in overall building costs as fire design can be
tailor-made for the building, resulting in (for example) thinner concrete sections giving
savings in materials and labour costs.

5.5.1 Overview of design A reasonable design process(52) for the performance-based approach is shown
process. schematically in Figure 5.4. Each step is described in detail in sections 5.5.1.1 to 5.5.1.9.

5.5.1.1 Determine requirements and objectives


Life safety is the fundamental minimum legislative requirement for the structural fire
design of buildings. The life safety requirements comprise:
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„„ safe egress of the occupants from the building or reasonable safe movement of
occupants to designated refuge areas within the building;
„„ safe operating conditions for fire-fighters;
„„ safety of people within, or in the proximity of, the building (including fire-fighters)
from the threat of possible collapse of the building.

Life safety requirements are covered by Regulations which may be functional or


prescriptive. For example, the Building Regulations in England and Wales(4) provide the
following functional objectives relating to structural aspects of fire safety.

„„ The building shall be designed and constructed so that in the event of fire its stability
will be maintained for a reasonable period.
„„ To inhibit the spread of fire within the building it shall be divided with fire-resisting
construction to an extent appropriate to the size and intended use of the building.

To meet these life safety requirements either a performance-based approach or the


simple prescriptive rules, as outlined in the approved documents(5) or from technical
guidance(9–11,68–70), could be adopted.

Should the client require it, the fire safety design could also deliver a higher standard
than the legislative requirement for fire safety, to increase the protection to the building
and its contents. To assess the ‘value’ of extending the fire design beyond the
fundamental life safety requirements a risk assessment is generally required to assess
acceptable risks, taking into account the direct and indirect losses from any possible fire.
For commercial property protection it is necessary to calculate the likely impact of a fire
on the company’s assets and trading position. A cost–benefit analysis which considers
the financial and business exposures (estimated total loss) and the cost of construction,
to ensure sufficient fire protection, should be conducted. This analysis will define the
most cost-effective passive and active fire protection measures appropriate to the
specific property and business. However, it should be noted that the major loss to any
building, in terms of primary cost, is to the building’s services and finishes.

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5 Protection and risks

Figure 5.4
Design process(52).

Determine requirements
and objectives.

Determine acceptable
performance criteria.

Assess basic Performance-based approach not


level of complexity achievable or no ‘added value’ obtained
no ‘added value’ obtainable

to meet requirements and


objectives.
Design not achievable or
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Performance-based approach

Carry out qualitative review Use prescriptive approach


(Approved documents
and guidance)

Assess value and constraints.

Design achievable and


‘added value’ obtainable

Carry out detailed performance-


based structural fire design.

Validation, verification & review

Design not
acceptable Compare analysis with
acceptable criteria

Design acceptable

Presentation of design for third


party checking.

Jenny Burridge
Concrete & Fire
Version 1
Chap 5 Fig 5.5
04.09.08
Amendments
23.02.09, 25.06.09
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Any increase in safety above the fundamental life safety requirements can result in the
need to provide additional measures, which could result in higher initial costs. It is
important that the requirements and objectives are discussed with the client (and
possibly insurance companies) at the start of the project and are clearly defined.

The requirements, objectives and performance criteria for each building are unique. The
Qualitative Design Review (QDR) process as described in BS 7974(67) is the most
appropriate method for drawing from the experience and knowledge of the team
members in order to define the input for the quantitative analysis, define acceptance
criteria and define a reasonable worst-case fire scenario. The approach, timing and the
check-lists that are provided in BS 7974, when reviewed in combination with the
guidance presented in this document, form a useful basis for managing the overall
approach.

5.5.1.2 Determine Acceptable Performance Criteria


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The acceptable criteria within a performance-based structural fire design should be


based on the global fire strategy for the building.

A comparative, deterministic or probabilistic approach, as outlined in BS 7974(67), can be


adopted to determine the acceptance criteria. For a comparative approach the levels of
safety obtained from a performance-based design are compared to the levels obtained
from a simple prescriptive approach to ensure equivalent safety levels are achieved.
For a deterministic approach, set objectives are defined and these must not be exceeded.
A probabilistic approach requires expert knowledge and reference should be made to
BS 7974.

To meet the life safety requirements the following points(52) need to be addressed. Either
a comparative or deterministic approach should be used when considering the
acceptable structural response.

„„ The structure should remain stable for a reasonable worst-case fire scenario,
considering cooling when appropriate. If natural fire curves are used, the effect of the
cooling stage of the fire on the behaviour of the structure should be considered.
„„ Both vertical and horizontal compartmentation should be maintained for the
duration of the reasonable worst-case fire scenario. Vertical displacement of the floor
slabs and beams in the proximity of the compartment walls should be considered,
particularly when more advanced methods are being adopted. Ductility and possible
fracturing of reinforcement at large displacements should also be considered.
„„ All escape routes, especially for phased evacuation, should remain tenable for a
reasonable period of time.
„„ Fire-fighting shafts should not be compromised for the duration of the reasonable
worst-case fire scenario.
„„ By consultation with specialist suppliers, the effect of large structural movements on
any applied fire protection, fire stopping, penetration seals, and the integrity of ducts
and dampers should be considered for the reasonable worst-case fire scenario.
„„ If identified as a critical fire scenario, the risk and consequence of fire spread up the
building, through windows, should be considered within the structural fire design
strategy.

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To reduce the loss of business associated with fire risk, satisfactory active measures and
fire safety management are generally required to reduce the risk of fire ignition and
subsequent development. It is important that any active measures and management
systems are designed and installed correctly and adequately maintained. Fire safety
management is a process which reduces the risk of fire ignition and ensures that, if a fire
does start, all the fire safety systems are in place and fully functional. More guidance on
fire safety management is given in BS 5588-12(71).

If fire ignition does occur then it is important to ensure that the fire remains within the
room of origin, or within the defined fire compartment, thus keeping the structural and
building contents damage to a minimum.

5.5.1.3 Assess basic level of complexity to meet requirements/objectives


Either a prescriptive approach, with well-defined guidance, or a performance-based
approach, based on the various methods in Figure 5.4, should be identified to meet the
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requirements/objectives.

A prescriptive approach is assumed to meet the minimum legislative requirements of life


safety, although it will also provide an unknown level of property and environmental
protection.

A performance-based structural fire design consists of defining the fire behaviour, the
transfer of heat to the structure and high-temperature structural analysis. Figure 5.3
shows the available methods covering these three aspects of the design.

The choice of the design approach will depend on(52):

„„ the defined requirements and objectives


„„ the experience of the designer
„„ the potential economical return
„„ the need to consider higher levels of safety above the regulatory requirement
„„ the need to design complex and innovative buildings.

Considering life safety only, significant cost savings may be achieved by using a
performance-based approach. For example:

„„ steel-framed buildings that would require applied fire protection using the
prescriptive approach;
„„ concrete buildings where the member size is governed by the minimum dimensions
given by the prescriptive approach.

It is possible to use any permutation of the methods shown in Figure 5.3 to define the
fire behaviour, heat transfer and structural response. The following general guidance(52) is
provided when considering different permutations.

„„ The accuracy of the design as a whole should be considered. For example, the
designer would need to consider the effect, and validity, of using the simple standard

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Protection and risks 5

temperature–time relationships with advanced heat transfer and structural response


models, when carrying out a deterministic approach. The Eurocodes do allow such a
design approach but it must be noted that there is little to be gained in predicting the
heat transfer and structural response to a high level of accuracy when the prediction
of the fire is crude and bears little resemblance to reality. However, this combination
may be appropriate when carrying out a comparative approach. An example would
be the case where a standard fire is used and advanced analysis is applied to compare
the relative performance of a simple compliant structure with that of a more complex
structure when test or prescriptive design data are not available.

„„ The comparative approach should be carefully reviewed to make sure that a true like-
for-like comparison is being made. In particular, it is important to make sure that
using the standard fire curve does not mask any detrimental effects resulting from a
more rapid rise in temperature that can occur in some real fires. Detrimental effects
such as higher temperatures or larger differential temperatures across the structure
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can result in earlier strength loss or higher forces in connections. However, the
temperatures of structures with beneficial insulation properties tend to lag
significantly behind the gas temperature and are less likely to suffer from these
detrimental effects. An inspection of the natural and standard fire curves showing the
temperature lag for the structure will enable an informed decision on whether the
comparative approach is reasonable.

„„ If there are reliable thermal test data, relevant to the assumed fire behaviour, then
these may be sufficient to replace the need for a thermal analysis for input into
structural finite-element analysis.

„„ The knowledge and experience of the designer are crucial. The use of zone models,
CFD and finite-element heat-transfer and structural models requires specialist
knowledge therefore such models should only be used by suitably competent
personnel.
„„ The accuracy and availability of the data representing the fire load, ventilation, and
thermal properties of the compartment boundaries, heat release rates, material
properties and applied static loads must be assured.
„„ Ensure the availability of software for zone, CFD and finite-element models.
„„ Be sure that there is sufficient available time to carry out the design.
„„ Consider the capital cost of the project. For a low-cost project the use of advanced
fire models may not be justified.
„„ Look at the importance of considering the structural behaviour during the cooling
phase of the fire. If this aspect is deemed to be important then standard fires cannot
be used.

5.5.1.4 Carry out qualitative review


As is common with any design process, a qualitative review of how the structure will
behave should be conducted. In most cases the structural engineer will rely extensively
on experience and engineering judgement to obtain a ‘feel’ for how the structure will
behave under fire conditions. The qualitative review may be enhanced by carrying out a
scoping study.

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The extent and need to carry out a scoping study will depend on the complexity of the
final design approach adopted. Basically, the scoping study should be a more simplified
approach compared to the final design. The scoping study will allow the designer to
assess whether the final, more complex, design provides reasonable results, and in some
cases will allow an early assessment of whether a complex design will result in cost
savings.

For example, considering the available approaches in Figure 5.3, if the designer decides
to carry out a time-equivalence calculation to define the fire behaviour, use simple
tables (test data) to define the thermal response, and member design to define the
structural behaviour, then as a scoping study the prescriptive rules (based on standard
fire curves) could be considered to verify that the final results are reasonable.

At the other extreme of design complexity, if the designer decides to use CFD to model
the fire behaviour, advanced heat transfer models to predict the heat transfer and whole
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building structural behaviour, then the scoping study should consider a more simplified
approach. This simplified approach could consist of using parametric curves or zone
models, simple heat transfer models and member or frame response. This scoping study
will allow the designer to assess whether it is worth carrying out the more complex, and
time-consuming, design and will also allow an assessment of whether the final results
from the complex analysis are reasonable.

In some complex designs, especially for structural finite-element modelling of


complicated structures under non-uniform heating, it will not be possible for the scoping
study to provide the required information to assess whether the final results are
reasonable. In this case the designer will have to rely on experience and engineering
judgement.

5.5.1.5 Assess value and constraints


Based on the qualitative review, the proposed design should be assessed to ensure it
delivers added ‘value’ above a more simplified approach. The assessment in terms of
value will depend on the stated requirements and objectives. If the minimum
requirement is life safety, then the added value may be defined in terms of initial savings.
For example, the assessment may consider whether it is possible to reduce the applied
fire protection on steel members or have smaller member sizes for concrete buildings,
while still maintaining acceptable levels of life safety. Added value may also be defined
in terms of a reduction in the uncertainty of the building response in a fire, which can
lead to the design of more robust buildings.

If the requirements and objectives consider the risk relating to financial loss then the
added ‘value’ will need to be based on both direct and indirect costs, within a risk-based
approach.

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As well as assessing the ‘value’, the designer also needs to assess the practicality of the
proposed approach. For example:

„„ Are qualified and experienced designers available to carry out the design?
„„ Is there sufficient scientific knowledge available (e.g. material properties at elevated
temperatures)?
„„ If required, is there sufficient validated software available which can be used
efficiently and within any time constraints?

5.5.1.6 Carry out detailed performance-based structural fire design


The design should consider the severity of any reasonable worst-case fire, the transfer of
heat to the structure and the response of the structure. There are a number of methods,
of varying complexity, as shown in Figure 5.3. These methods range from simple hand
calculations to the use of sophisticated computer models.
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Irrespective of the approach used, the proposed design should include:

„„ a clear statement of the adopted approach and type of design model used
„„ a clear statement of the assumptions adopted and an assessment of the consequence
of each assumption
„„ a consideration of the cumulative effect of assumptions
„„ identification of any uncertainties within the design and how these are addressed
„„ sensitivity analyses of the design, which may be based on experience
„„ identification of any ‘weak’ points within the structure and how these may be
overcome.

In some cases the design may be limited to considering the likely severity of the fire,
with the aim of ensuring that the atmospheric temperatures during a fire will remain
sufficiently low as to not affect the structure. In this case the above points relating
specifically to the structural response are ignored.

The use of sophisticated computer models can be time-consuming. It is advisable that


the concept model, especially on the issues relating to boundary conditions, mesh
density and connectivity, is agreed with the checking bodies before the analysis is carried
out.

5.5.1.7 Validation, verification and review


The extent of validation, verification and review of the design should be proportional to
the complexity of the design adopted.

Validation
In its general form validation is the process of demonstrating that the design approach
(model) is suitable for its intended purpose. The appropriateness of the design approach
covering the prediction of fire severity, heat transfer and structural response should be
considered separately and also in combination with each other.

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5 Protection and risks

Within all design models a number of assumptions are adopted and these should be
understood and systematically reviewed and assessed during the design process. This is
particularly important when using computer software. Designers should not use any
software without an appreciation of its capabilities and limitations. Any computer
modelling should address the following(52):

„„ boundary conditions
„„ non-linear material behaviour
„„ structural connections and localised behaviour
„„ mesh density
„„ connectivity
„„ large displacements and geometric non-linearity.

A clear statement explaining the effect of these assumptions and approximations should
be included within the design.
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Verification
Verification is an assessment of whether the design model has produced correct results
and should include:

„„ a check of input data;


„„ an assessment of whether the results correspond to what was anticipated in the
qualitative review;
„„ a constant watch for errors and anomalies and an appreciation of why they might
occur;
„„ a sensitivity analysis, which may be based on experience. A sensitivity analysis would
be of particular relevance if the results do not correspond to what was anticipated in
the qualitative review;
„„ an assessment of the degree of risk associated with possible errors. For example, has
the software been validated against available test results or alternative software?

Review
A review of the design should be documented and checked, which should include
information about how the design approach has been validated and verified.

5.5.1.8 Compare analysis with acceptable criteria


The results from the design are compared against the acceptable performance criteria
defined in section 5.5.1.2.

5.5.1.9 Presentation of design for third-party checking


The design should be presented in a form that could readily be checked by a third party.
Each step in the design process (Figure 5.4) should be clearly documented, including any
assumptions and approximations.

The following, general, check-list(52) is presented as a guide. Consideration is given to the


overall design approach adopted together with the choice of approach used to define
the fire severity, heat transfer and structural response.

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Overall design
„„ Has the design process (Figure 5.4) been clearly described?
„„ Has each stage of the design process (Figure 5.4) been clearly stated?
„„ Have the requirements/objectives been clearly stated?
„„ Have the acceptable performance criteria been defined, based on the overall fire
strategy?
„„ Has the design been adequately validated, verified and reviewed?
„„ Are the assumptions, approximations and accuracy consistent for the fire, heat
transfer and structural model?
„„ Are the adopted assumptions clearly stated, with an assessment of the consequence
of each assumption?
„„ Has the cumulative effect of any assumptions and approximations within the fire,
heat transfer and structural model been considered?
„„ Have any uncertainties, or possible errors, with the design been addressed?
„„ Do the final results correspond with what was expected, based on the qualitative
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review?

Fire model
„„ Has the fire model (Figure 5.3) and the reasons for its choice been explained?
„„ If the standard temperature–time relationship has been adopted:
zz has the effect of adopting such a simplistic representation when considering
the thermal and structural response been assessed?
zz have any possible detrimental effects of cooling been considered and addressed
in the structural design?
„„ Has the accuracy of the input data for the ventilation, fire load, heat release rate,
compartment geometry and thermal characteristics of the compartment boundaries
been assessed?
„„ How has the reasonable worst-case fire scenario been defined?
„„ Has a sensitivity analysis been considered by varying the ventilation and thermal
characteristics of the compartment boundaries?
„„ If time-equivalence is used, is it valid for the type of construction adopted?
„„ If CFD modelling is used, how has it been validated?

Heat transfer
„„ If charts, analytical methods or test data are used to define the thermal distribution
through the members, are they valid for the fire model used?
„„ If simple or advanced heat transfer models are used, do the heat flux and emissivity
values correspond to the fire model adopted?
„„ If advanced heat transfer models are used, how is the modelling of moisture
movement validated? (However, note that ignoring moisture movement will result in
conservative temperature estimates, provided spalling does not occur.)

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5 Protection and risks

Structural response
„„ If simple models are used, are they valid for the chosen fire model?
„„ If detrimental, how have the possible effects of concrete spalling been taken into
account?
„„ If finite-element models are used, the following points should be considered:
zz Have the input data been checked carefully?
zz Compared to the scoping study, experience or engineering judgement, are the
results as expected?
zz Has the software been validated against available test results or alternative
software?
zz Are the assumptions and approximations embedded within the software fully
understood?
zz Has numerical failure (i.e. model instability) instead of actual structural failure
occurred?
zz Has the mode of failure been identified?
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zz Has localised failure been considered?


zz Are boundary conditions realistic?
zz Has the mesh density adopted been verified?
zz Have the correct material stress–strain–temperature relationships been used?
zz Where appropriate, has strain reversal been included?
zz Where appropriate, have various fire scenarios been considered to define the
worst case structurally?

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Regulations, supporting documents and design codes 6

6. Regulations, supporting documents and


design codes
It is important for designers to understand the necessary legislative requirements and
the available design guidance documents which, if followed, can be used to satisfy these
requirements. This chapter introduces the different legislative documents in the UK and
the different technical guides and design codes. In addition the background to the
Construction Products Directive and CE marking is discussed.

Both the relevant British and European Standards are discussed since at the time of
writing both are in use. However, in March 2010 British Standards for structural design
(BS 8110 & BS 5628) which conflict with the Eurocodes were withdrawn.
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6.1 Building Regulations UK legislation covering fire safety in buildings is primarily governed by the Building
Regulations together with some secondary legislation. The legislative statutory
documents covering the Building Regulations are different in England and Wales,
Scotland, and Northern Ireland. All regulations are presented in a functional format (e.g.
“The building shall be designed and constructed so that in the event of fire its stability
will be maintained for a reasonable period.”) which are supplemented with technical
guides. If the technical guides are followed, which generally contain simple prescriptive
(deemed-to-satisfy) rules, then it is accepted that the design will satisfy the regulations.

The technical guides supporting the regulations are not mandatory and there is no
obligation to adopt any particular solution contained within these guides. However, if
the technical guides are not followed, the onus is then on the designer to demonstrate
that adequate levels of fire safety have been reached. In some cases, particularly in large
and complex buildings, it may not be possible to use the simple solutions in the technical
guides and instead a performance-based approach will need to be used.

The regulations, and supporting technical guides, provide the minimum life safety
requirements. They do not consider explicitly the protection of the building contents,
the building superstructure, heritage, business continuity, corporate image of the
occupants or owner, and/or the environmental impact. However, meeting the minimum
levels of life safety will provide some, unknown, level of protection to these issues.

To consider the protection of the building, beyond life safety, a performance-based


approach, incorporating risk assessments, is required.

The regulations, supporting technical documents, and other relevant legislation for
England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, are discussed in the following
sections.

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6 Regulations, supporting documents and design codes

6.1.1 Building Regulations The current Building Regulations in England and Wales are overseen by the Department
England and Wales for Communities and Local Government and apply to most new buildings, many
alterations, extensions and changes of use of existing buildings. In relation to fire their
aims are principally to ensure the health and safety of people in and around buildings.

The design and construction of building work is subject to checks by a Building Control
Body, which could be the local authority or an organisation from the private sector
(approved inspector). Applicants can decide whether to apply to the local authority for
building control or to appoint an approved inspector.

Part B of the Building Regulations(4) deals with functional requirements for fire safety
and covers:
„„ (B1) Means of warning and escape
„„ (B2) Internal fire spread (linings)
„„ (B3) Internal fire spread (structure)
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„„ (B4) External fire spread


„„ (B5) Access and facilities for the fire service.

Approved Documents are available which provide guidance on meeting the


requirements of the regulations for some of the more common building situations. For
fire safety, guidance is given in Approved Document B(5) (ADB, Figure 6.1), which if
followed can normally be relied upon to demonstrate compliance with the regulations.
However, as mentioned previously, the Approved Document is not mandatory and there
is no obligation to adopt any particular solution contained within the document.

Figure 6.1
Approved Document B (ADB).

The Building Control process is only part of the fire safety approval picture. Most non-
domestic building premises are also subjected to ongoing control through the Fire Safety
Order(72), which came into force on 1 October 2006, principally replacing the Fire
Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 and the Fire Precautions Act 1971. Under the
Order it is no longer the Fire Service’s duty to ensure safety in the workplace; instead a
‘responsible person’, identified by the owner or someone who is responsible for the

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Regulations, supporting documents and design codes 6

premises, will be accountable. The responsible person will be required to carry out a risk
assessment to ensure that their premises are safe for the occupants and those in the
immediate vicinity. Although the Order is applicable to premises in operation, there are
benefits in carrying out a preliminary risk assessment during the design process. This will
allow any necessary changes to be made during construction/refurbishment, which, if
not incorporated, could become more expensive once the project is complete.

6.1.2 Building Regulations The building standards system in Scotland is set out in the Building Scotland Act
Scotland 2003(73). The Act gives Scottish Ministers the power to make Building Regulations,
procedural regulations, fees regulations and other supporting legislation. The duties of
the Scottish Ministers set out in the Act are carried out by the Scottish Building
Standards Agency.
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The Building Regulations in Scotland apply to new buildings and to alterations,


extensions and conversions of existing buildings. Before work starts a warrant is required
for all projects covered by the regulations. For fire issues the regulations are made
principally to ensure the health, safety and welfare of people in and around buildings.
The design and construction of building work is subject to checks by a verifier. The 2003
Act provides for a variety of verifiers but at present the only appointed verifiers are the
32 Scottish local authorities, which also have an enforcement role. The Act allows the
use of approved certifiers who may issue a certificate confirming compliance with the
regulation requirements for the submission to the verifier. The approved certifiers can
cover the design and construction aspects of the project. The verifier will not check the
design (or construction) covered by the certificate but will check that the certifier is
qualified to carry out the checks.

The requirements of the regulations (Building Scotland Regulations 2004(74)) for fire
safety are expressed in terms of functional requirements and are divided into the
following key elements:
„„ compartmentation
„„ separation
„„ structural protection
„„ cavities
„„ internal linings
„„ spread to neighbouring buildings
„„ spread on external walls
„„ spread from neighbouring buildings
„„ escape
„„ escape lighting
„„ communication
„„ Fire Service access
„„ Fire Service water supply
„„ Fire Service facilities
„„ automatic life safety fire suppression systems.

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6 Regulations, supporting documents and design codes

Two Technical Handbooks(6) (2007) are available, providing guidance to satisfy the
functional standards. One handbook provides guidance for domestic buildings and the
other provides guidance for non-domestic buildings. Section 2 of the Technical
Handbooks deals with fire safety for some of the more common building situations and
seeks to ensure that reasonable levels of health and safety are provided for people in and
around buildings.

The guidance contained in the Technical Handbooks, if followed, can be relied upon to
demonstrate compliance with the functional requirements of the regulations. As
previously explained, the guidance is not mandatory and there is no obligation to adopt
any particular solution contained in the Handbooks.

Consultation with the fire authority is an integral part of the building standards approval
process in Scotland and is a mandatory requirement of the Procedure Regulations
(2004)(72). Verifiers will consult the fire authority in the following circumstances when a
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warrant is applied for:

„„ non-domestic residential buildings;


„„ non-domestic, non-residential buildings where the design is not in accordance with
the guidance issued by Scottish Ministers;
„„ domestic buildings with a storey at a height over 18 m;
„„ domestic buildings with a storey at a height over 7.5 m but not over 18 m where the
design is not in accordance with the guidance issued by Scottish Ministers.

The verifier should pass any comments received by the fire authority to the relevant
client for their consideration.

6.1.3 Building Regulations The Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) is responsible for the development and
Northern Ireland implementation of policy and legislation relating to the Building Regulations for
Northern Ireland. The Building Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000(76) apply to most
new buildings and many alterations, extensions and changes of use of existing buildings.
For fire issues they are made principally to ensure the health, safety, welfare and
convenience of people in and around buildings. In Northern Ireland the Building
Regulations and supporting Technical Booklets(7) are issued by the DFP.
The design and construction of building work is subject to inspection by the Building
Control Department of the district council for the area in which either the building is
situated or the building work is carried out.

The requirements of the Building Regulations are generally expressed in functional terms
and are divided into a number of Parts covering various building legislation. Part E deals
mainly with the fire safety measures designed into buildings and seeks to ensure that, in
the event of a fire, an acceptable standard of life safety is provided.

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Part E of the regulations covers:

„„ Means of escape (Reg. E2)


„„ Internal fire spread – Linings (Reg. E3)
„„ Internal fire spread – Structure (Reg. E4)
„„ External fire spread (Reg. E5)
„„ Facilities and access for the Fire Brigade (Reg. E6).

In Part E a number of different deemed-to-satisfy publications are referred to. These


publications include British Standard Codes of Practice and Technical Booklet E(7). These
publications provide certain methods and standards, which if followed, will satisfy the
requirements of the regulations.

As with the other deemed-to-satisfy technical publications, there is no obligation to


follow Technical Booklet E. Designers may adopt other ways of meeting the
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requirements of Part E provided they demonstrate that the regulations have been
satisfied. Technical Booklet E acknowledges that some large and complex buildings may
be beyond its scope. In this circumstance a fire safety engineering approach may be the
only viable way of achieving an adequate level of fire safety.

The Building Regulation process is only part of the statutory fire safety framework in
Northern Ireland. Most non-domestic building uses and workplaces are subject to
ongoing control through other fire safety legislation, much of which is enforced by the
Fire Authority for Northern Ireland. The two main pieces of legislation in this respect are
the Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006(77) and the Fire Precautions
(Workplace) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2001(78). This legislation forces the employer
(person who has, to any extent, control of the workplace) to undertake a risk assessment
to determine the likelihood of fire, the potential consequences for those in the
workplace and the appropriate measures (controls) needed to reduce or eliminate those
risks. This legislation is similar to the England and Wales Fire Safety Order and although
it is not a requirement to carry out the assessment before the building is occupied it is
recommended that it is included in the design process to allow any changes to be made
during the construction/refurbishment stage.

6.2 The Construction The aim of the Construction Products Directive (CPD) is to remove any technical barriers
Products Directive to trade within the European Economic Area. The intention of the CPD is to replace
existing national standards and technical approvals with European standards (ENs) and
European Technical Approvals (ETAs). In the UK, the CPD is mandatory under the
Construction Products Regulations(79), which came into force on 27 December 1991 and
were amended on 1 January 1995 by the Construction Products (Amendment)
Regulations 1994.

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The CPD covers the following six essential requirements for construction products:

1. mechanical resistance and stability


2. safety in case of fire
3. hygiene, health and the environment
4. safety in use
5. protection against noise
6. energy economy and heat retention.

For fire safety the construction works must be designed and built in such a way that in
the event of an outbreak of fire:

„„ the load-bearing capacity of the construction can be assumed for a specific period of
time
„„ the generation and spread of fire and smoke within the works are limited
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„„ the spread of the fire to neighbouring construction works is limited


„„ occupants can leave the works or be rescued by other means
„„ the safety of rescue teams is taken into consideration.

The CPD allows products to be CE-marked, showing that they are specified according to
European technical specifications. Any product with the CE marking, appropriate to the
National Annex of the country of origin, cannot be refused entry to the European
Economic Area markets on technical grounds. At the time of writing in the UK, CE
marking is currently not mandatory for construction products. However, the CE marking
does have the benefit that it indicates that the products do conform to the mandatory
requirement of the CPD. In most other European countries the CE marking is mandatory.

The CPD requirements and the UK Building Regulations have similar aims. The
supporting UK Building Regulations documents have provided guidance on the
classification of products in accordance with British Standards, European Standards and
ETAs. The implementation of the CPD requires a period of coexistence of the existing
national standards and European standards/technical specifications. This period will
allow producers, importers and distributors of construction products to sell goods
complying with national rules previously in force and have new tests carried out to
comply with the new European standards. At the time of writing, the duration of the
period of coexistence in relation to the European and British fire tests, which are covered
by different codes, has not yet been clearly defined.

6.3 Eurocodes The Eurocodes are referred to in the UK Approved Documents, Technical Handbooks and
Technical Booklets. While Eurocodes (and British Standards) are not mandatory in the
UK, by adopting their recommendations it is generally considered that the Approved
Documents, Technical Handbooks and Technical Booklets will be complied with
provided that they are used within the limits of their application.

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The structural Eurocodes dealing with concrete and masonry fire design are as follows:

„„ BS EN 1992-1-2: 2004: Eurocode 2: Design of concrete structures – Part 1-2: General


rules. Structural fire design(8).
„„ BS EN 1994-1-2: 2005: Eurocode 4: Design of composite steel and concrete structures
– Part 1-2: General rules. Structural fire design(80).
„„ BS EN 1996-1-2: 2005: Eurocode 6: Design of masonry structures – Part 1-2: General
rules. Structural fire design(81).

These are not stand-alone documents and constant reference is made to the ambient design
for each material covered in BS EN 1992-1-1(175), BS EN 1994-1-1(176) and BS EN 1996-1-1(177).
In addition each structural fire code is used alongside BS EN 1991-1-2(11)), which defines
the fire action.

All Eurocodes have National Determined Parameters (NDPs) which can be defined by
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individual countries and presented in the National Annex (NA). In some cases
Informative, as opposed to Normative, Annexes are presented in the Eurocodes. The use
of these Informative Annexes is discussed in the National Annex. The Eurocode cannot
be used without the appropriate National Annex.

For designers of concrete and masonry structures, familiar with a very simple
prescriptive approach to the design of structures for fire (based on the use of simple
look-up tables in British Standards), the new Eurocode philosophy may appear unduly
complex. However, the design methodology in the Eurocodes affords the designer much
greater flexibility in the fire design of structures. The options available range from a
simple consideration of isolated member behaviour subject to a standard fire, to a
consideration of the physical parameters influencing fire development coupled with an
analysis of frames or the entire building.

A brief introduction to the structural fire design Eurocodes and the corresponding UK
National Annex, dealing with concrete and masonry, is presented below with detailed
discussion on the design methods given in Chapter 7.

6.3.1 BS EN 1991-1-2 BS EN 1991-1-2(11), Actions on structures exposed to fire, is the fire part of Eurocode 1,
Basis of design and actions on structures. It is intended for use in conjunction with the
fire design parts of Eurocodes 2 to 6 and Eurocode 9 (Aluminium) which are concerned
with design for various materials and special circumstances. BS EN 1991-1-2 provides
general principles and actions for the structural design of buildings and civil engineering
works and is valid only if the ambient temperature design is carried out in accordance
with the relevant structural Eurocodes.

The temperature–time curves (thermal actions in the code) used for structural analysis
may be either nominal or physically based fire models. Typical nominal curves would
include the ‘standard’ time–temperature response (ISO 834(60), BS 476-20(62) or BS EN
1363-1(61)) used to determine fire resistance or the more severe hydrocarbon curve

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6 Regulations, supporting documents and design codes

generally used by the offshore and petroleum industries. These nominal curves are used
in standard fire tests and are not based on any physical parameters relating to buildings.
Physically based natural fire models take into account actual fire load, ventilation,
compartment geometry and ventilation to obtain a more realistic estimate of the fire
severity. In BS EN 1991-1-2, physical-based fire models include the parametric approach,
time equivalent method and advanced calculations such as zone or field models.

A summary of the fire models, their complexity, predicted fire behaviour, input
parameters and design tools is shown in Table 6.1.

Nominal Time Natural fire Localised Zone models CFD / field


Fire model
fires equivalence curves fires One-zone Two-zone models
Complexity Simple Intermediate Advanced
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Fire behaviour Post-flashover fires Pre-flashover Post- Pre-flashover/ Complete temperature–


fires flashover localised fires time relationships
fires

Temperature Uniform in whole compartment Non-uniform Uniform Uniform in each Time- and space-
distribution along plume layer dependent

Input - Constant - Fire load - Fire load and - Fire load Detailed input for
parameters time–temp. - Ventilation conditions size - Ventilation conditions solving the fundamental
relationship. - Thermal properties of boundary - Height of - Thermal properties of boundary equations of the fluid
- No physical - Compartment size ceiling - Compartment size flow
parameters - Detailed input for heat and mass
balance of the system

Design Simple equations for hand calculations Spread-sheet Simple Computer models
tools equations

Table 6.1
Options for modelling compartment
fires(52).

The UK National Annex (NA) to BS EN 1991-1-2 was published in 2007(82) together with
the background document BS PD 6688:2007(83). Both documents must be used with the
main Eurocode BS EN 1992-1-2.

If nominal fires are used, relating to fire resistance, then BS EN 1991-1-2 states that
periods of fire resistance are obtained from national regulations. The supporting
documents to the UK regulations provide the required fire resistance periods for
elements of the structure based on the occupancy and height of the building. For
example, the required fire resistance periods for elements of the building, given in
Approved Document B(5), are shown in Table 6.2.

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Table 6.2
Periods of fire
Purpose group of Minimum periods of fire resistance (minutes) in a:
resistance for elements building Basement storey Ground or upper storey
given in Approved including floor over
Document B.
Depth (m) of a lowest Height (m) of top floor above ground, in a building or
basement separated part of a building

More Not more Not more Not more Not more More
than 10 than 10 than 5 than 18 than 30 than 30

Residential:

a. Block of flats

– not sprinklered 90 60 30* 60** 90** Not permitted

– sprinklered 90 60 30* 60** 90** 120**

b. Institutional 90 60 30* 60 90 120†

c. Other residential 90 60 30* 60 90 120†


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Office:

– not sprinklered 90 60 30* 60 90 Not permitted

– sprinklered 60 60 30* 30* 60 120†

Shop and commercial:

– not sprinklered 90 60 60 60 90 Not permitted


*
– sprinklered 60 60 30 60 60 120†

Assembly and recreation:

– not sprinklered 90 60 60 60 90 Not permitted

– sprinklered 60 60 30* 60 60 120†

Industrial:

– not sprinklered 120 90 60 90 120 Not permitted

– sprinklered 90 60 30* 60 90 120†

Storage and other non-residential:


Notes
* Increased to a minimum of 60 a. any building or part not
minutes for compartment walls described elsewhere:
separating buildings.
** Reduced to 30 minutes for any
– not sprinklered 120 90 60 90 120 Not permitted
floor within a flat with more than
one storey, but not if the floor
contributes to the support of the – sprinklered 90 60 30* 60 90 120†
building.
† Reduced to 90 minutes for b. car park for light vehicles:
elements not forming part of the
structural frame. i. open-sided car park NA NA 15*‡ 15*‡ 15*‡ 60
‡ Increased to 30 minutes for
elements protecting means of
escape.
ii. any other car park 90 60 30* 60 90 120†

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6 Regulations, supporting documents and design codes

6.3.2 BS EN 1992-1-2 BS EN 1992-1-2(8) deals with the fire design of concrete structures. Similar to all fire parts
of the structural Eurocodes, BS EN 1992-1-2 presents a number of approaches to the
structural fire design (Figure 6.2). In the first instance the fire action can be defined using
the nominal fire (prescriptive rules) or a physical-based model (performance based).
Under the nominal fire model either tabulated data for various members, simple
member/frame calculation models or advanced calculation models can be used. Under
the physical-based fire model only simple member/frame calculation models or
advanced calculation models can be used since it is impossible to present tabulated data
to cover all possible fire scenarios. In the UK the traditional approach, as outlined in BS
8110-1(9), is the use of nominal curves and tabulated data. In the Eurocode the position
of the bar is defined as the axis distance whereas in the British Standard it is defined as
the cover (either to main bars or all bars).
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Project design

Prescriptive rules Performance - Based Code


(Thermal actions by nominal fire) (Physically based thermal actions)

Analysis of Analysis of Selection of simple or advanced


Member
part of the entire fire development models
analysis
structure structure

Calculation of Calculation of Member Analysis of Analysis of


Selection of
mechanical mechanical analysis part of the entire
mechanical
actions at actions at structure structure
actions
boundaries boundaries

Calculation of Calculation of
Selection of
Simple Advanced mechanical mechanical
Tabulated mechanical
calculation calculation actions at actions at
data actions
models models boundaries boundaries
If available

Simple Advanced
calculation calculation
models models
If available

Figure 6.2
Available design methods covered by
BS EN 1992-1-2.
Design methods and tabulated data are provided for reinforced and prestressed concrete
columns, walls (load-bearing and non-load-bearing), tension members, reinforced and
prestressed beams, and reinforced and prestressed slabs. BS EN 1992-1-2 does not cover
structures with prestressing by external tendons, shell structures and active fire
protection. The code also provides data on material properties at elevated temperature
of concrete (normal strength, lightweight and high strength), reinforcing steel and
prestressing steel. It is worth noting that the thermal conductivity for concrete specified
in BS EN 1992-1-2 differs from the corresponding value in BS EN 1994-1-2. A summary
of the content of BS EN 1992-1-2 is shown in Figure 6.3.

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General Basic requirements


Actions
Design values of material Xd.fi
Basis of Design
Concrete
Mehanical and thermal
Material properties Reinforcing steel
properties
Prestressing steel
Annex A
Strength reduction Temperature
profiles
Simple models Temperature profiles
Annex B
Reduced cross-section Isotherm 500
zone methods
General aspects Sections in
Design procedures Thermal response bending & axial
Advanced models
Mechanical response load
Validation
Shear, torsion & anchorage Annex D
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Spalling Calculation methods for shear,


Joints torsion and anchorage
Protective layers

Columns Annex C
Walls Tabulated data for columns
Tabulated data Tensile members
Beams Annex E
Slabs Simplified calculation methods for
beams and slabs
Spalling
High strength concrete Thermal properties
Structural design

Figure 6.3
Summary of BS EN 1992-1-2 (Eurocode 2).
The UK NA(45) for BS EN 1992-1-2 was published in 2005 covering the National
Determined Parameters (NDPs) and Informative Annexes. The NA provides the NDP
values and allows all the Informative Annexes to be used.

6.3.3 BS EN 1994-1-2 BS EN 1994-1-2(80) deals with the fire design of composite steel and concrete structures.
It covers composite floors, columns and beams. The available design methods are similar
to BS EN 1992-1-2 and are shown in Figure 6.2. Material properties at elevated
temperature are given for structural steel, reinforcing steel and concrete. Tabular data
are presented for cross-sectional dimensions and area of reinforcement for a range of
different composite beams and columns.

A summary of the content of BS EN 1994-1-2 is shown in Figure 6.4.

Jenny Burridge
Concrete & Fire
Version 1
Chap 6 Fig 6.3
04.09.08.08
Amendments

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6 Regulations, supporting documents and design codes

Annex A
Stress-strain relationships
for structural steel
General
Basic requirements Annex B
Basis of design Actions Stress-strain relationships
Material design values for siliceous concrete
Verification methods

Annex C
Structural steel
Mechanical & Stress-strain relationships
Material properties Concrete
thermal properties for concrete adapted to
Reinforcing steel
natural fibres
Partially encased beams
Tabulated data Composite columns Annex D
Fire resistance of
unprotected slabs
Unprotected / protected
composite slabs
Annex E
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Moment resistance of
unprotected beams
Design procedure Simple models Composite beams
Annex F
Moment resistance of
partially encased beams
Composite columns

Annex G
General aspects Simple models for partially
Thermal response encased columns
Advanced models
Constructional details Mechanical response
Validation
Annex H
Annex 1 Simple models for
Composite beams
Planning & evaluation concrete filled columns
Composite columns
Connections experimental models

Figure 6.4
Summary of BS EN 1994-1-2 (Eurocode 4).

6.3.4 BS EN 1996-1-2 BS EN 1996-1-2(81) deals with the fire design of masonry structures. It covers non-
loadbearing and loadbearing walls with various masonry units, except natural stone.
The available design methods are similar to BS EN 1992-1-2 and are shown in Figure 6.2.

A summary of the content of BS EN 1996-1-2 is shown in Figure 6.5.


The UK NA(84) was published in 2007 covering the NDPs and Informative Annexes.

Jenny Burridge
Concrete & Fire
Version 1
Chap 6 Fig 6.4
05.09.08
84 Amendments
23.02.09

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Regulations, supporting documents and design codes 6

General

Performance requirements
Basic principles Actions
and rules Material design values
Assessment methods

Mortar
Mechanical &
Material properties
thermal properties
Masonry

General information
Surface finishes Annex A (informative)
Additional requirements Guidance on selection of fire
resistance periods

Design procedure Assessment by testing


Annex B (normative)
Tabulated data for walls
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Assessment by tabulated data


Annex C (informative)
Simplified calculation model
Assessment by calculation
Annex D (informative)
Advanced calculation method

Junctions & joints


Annex E (informative)
Detailing
Connection examples
Fixtures, pipes & cables

Figure 6.5
Summary of BS EN 1996-1-2 (Eurocode 6).

6.4 British Standards The old British Standard design codes for concrete/masonry were withdrawn in 2010.
However they are still in use by some engineers. These codes are covered only briefly below.

The fire design of concrete and masonry structures is covered by:

„„ BS 8110-1: Structural use of concrete. Part 1: Code of practice for design and
construction(9).
„„ BS 8110-2: Structural use of concrete. Part 2: Code of practice for special
circumstances(10).
„„ BS 5628-3: Code of practice for the use of masonry. Part 3: Materials and
components, design and workmanship(85).

For concrete structures, most designers in the UK do not venture beyond BS 8110-1
when checking the fire resistance of concrete members. Tabular data are given in BS
Jenny Burridge 8110-1 specifying minimum geometric sizes and cover to all reinforcement, with some
Concrete & Fire
Version 1 warning of possible spalling when covers exceed 40 mm. Initial sizing of elements in
Chap 6 Fig 6.5
05.09.08 concrete design will incorporate the guidance given in the tables in BS 8110-1 and,
Amendments provided the minimum element size and cover are maintained, designers will generally
23.02.09

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6 Regulations, supporting documents and design codes

give no further thought to the fire design. Generally BS 8110-2, which provides more
guidance on achieving the required fire resistance, is only used when either an error is
made during construction relating to the cover, or when lightweight concrete is used.

BS 8110-2 presents three possible design methods to determine the fire resistance of
concrete members, comprising tabulated data, application of test data and fire
engineering calculations. In the case of tabulated data, BS 8110-2 removes the
conservatism in the prescriptive rules given in Part 1 by specifying cover to the main
flexural bars. Some warnings are given in relation to spalling, where it is stated that rapid
rates of heating, large compressive stresses or high moisture content can lead to spalling,
particularly for covers exceeding 40–50 mm. The Standard also highlights the fact that
limestone aggregates are less susceptible to spalling, compared to concrete made from
aggregates containing a high proportion of silica (i.e. flints, quartzites and granites).
Some guidance is given on the protection of elements against spalling and also
additional protection to remedy deficiencies in cover thickness.
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The tabulated data given in BS 8110-1 and BS 8110-2 are based on the conservative
assumption that the structural elements considered are fully stressed at ambient
temperature, that the reinforcing steel does not exceed 550°C and that the prestressing
tendons do not exceed 450°C. The tabulated data are based on cover distance (edge of
the bar to edge of the element) whereas the Eurocodes are based on axis distance.

An example of the tabulated data (from cover to reinforcement) provided in BS 8110-1 is


shown in Table 6.3 below. Minimum sizes of elements can be obtained from Figure 3.2
of BS 8110-1.

Fire Nominal cover to all reinforcement (including mm)


Resistance Beams Floors Ribs Columns
(hour)
Simply supported Continuous Simply supported Continuous Simply supported Continuous

0.5 20 20 20 20 20 20 20

1 20 20 20 20 20 20 20

1.5 20 20 25 20 35 20 20

2.0 40 30 35 25 45 35 25

3 60 40 45 35 55 45 25

4 70 50 55 45 65 55 25
Note
Cases highlighted require attention to the additional measures necessary to reduce the risks of spalling (refer to BS 8110-2)

Table 6.3
Extract from BS 8110: Nominal cover to
all reinforcement. For masonry structures, simple tabulated data are given in BS 5628-3, which provides
data for load-bearing and non-load-bearing single-leaf and cavity walls. Different types
of clay and concrete materials used to construct the masonry unit are also considered.
Table 6.4 shows an example of the tabular data taken from BS 5628-3.

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Table 6.4
Extract from BS 5628-3 for load-bearing
Material Minimum thickness of masonry for period of
single-leaf walls without a finish. fire resistance (mm)
30 60 90 2h 3h 4h 6h
min min min

Solid clay brick 90 90 100 100 170 170 200

Concrete or calcium silicate 90 90 100 100 190 190 200

Concrete, class 1 aggregate 90 90 100 100 140 150 150

Concrete, class 2 aggregate 90 90 100 100 – – –

Aerated concrete 90 90 100 100 140 180 215

6.4.1 Fire engineering This section briefly introduces relevant British Standards which incorporate structural fire
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standards that incorporate engineering aspects. There were no corresponding Eurocode standards at the time this
publication went to press.
structural aspects
6.4.1.1 BS 7974
BS 7974:2001 Application of fire safety engineering principles to the design of
buildings(67), provides a framework for the application of fire safety engineering principles
to the design of buildings. The code provides guidance to ensure the protection of
people, property and the environment from fire. It is supported by eight published
documents shown below.

„„ Part 0: Guide to design framework and fire safety engineering procedures


„„ Part 1: Initiation and development of fire within the enclosure of origin
„„ Part 2: Spread of smoke and toxic gases within and beyond the enclosure of origin
„„ Part 3: Structural response and fire spread beyond the enclosure of origin
„„ Part 4: Detection of fire and activation of fire protection systems
„„ Part 5: Fire service intervention
„„ Part 6: Evacuation
„„ Part 7: Probabilistic risk assessment

BS 7974-3(86) presents the structural fire design methods (covering thermal and
structural behaviour) for concrete, steel, timber and masonry. For concrete and masonry,
BS 7974-3 currently relies heavily on the rules presented in BS 8110-1, BS 8110-2 and BS
5628-3. It also provides general guidance on the use of concrete structures in fire.
Currently, BS 7974-3 is being revised to include the recommendations of the Eurocodes
and latest research findings.

6.4.1.2 BS 9999
A major development in the UK is the introduction of BS 9999:2008, Code of practice
for fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings(87). BS 9999 deals with all
aspects of fire safety engineering. An important development presented in BS 9999 is
the revision to the minimum fire-resistance periods reflecting Approved Document B,
which are the deemed-to-satisfy rules for the England and Wales Building Regulations.

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6 Regulations, supporting documents and design codes

Generally, the change in fire resistance periods has resulted in residential buildings
increasing and office buildings decreasing in fire resistance.

6.4.1.3 BS 5588
BS 5588-0:1996 Fire precautions in the design, construction and use of buildings(88),
provides a list of published guidance for particular premises and applications. In addition
there are a further 11 parts to BS 5588, covering various aspects of fire safety design, as
shown below.

„„ Part 1: Code of practice for residential buildings


„„ Part 2: Code of practice for shops
„„ Part 3: Code of practice for office buildings
„„ Part 4: Code of practice for smoke control in protected escape routes using pressure
differentials
„„ Part 5: Code of practice for firefighting stairs and lifts
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„„ Part 6: Code of practice for places of assembly


„„ Part 7: Code of practice for incorporation of atria in buildings
„„ Part 8: Code of practice for means of escape for disabled people
„„ Part 9: Code of practice for ventilation and air conditioning ductwork
„„ Part 10: Code of practice for shopping complexes
„„ Part 11: Code of practice for shops, offices, industrial, storage and other similar
buildings

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Design methods 7

7. Design methods

There are a number of codified design methods available for concrete buildings. The
simplest is the use of tabulated data based on fire resistance periods. In BS EN 1992-1-
2(8) some of the tables are based on an estimate of the likely load at the time of the fire.
If the designer carries out a simple load calculation and then uses the tabulated data,
possible savings can be made in terms of the required geometric size of members.

Simple design methods are also available, which are based on the principles of cold
design, and are known as the 500°C Isotherm Method and the Zone Method. In
addition, the codes(8,11) provide a framework for carrying out more advanced calculations
where the fire, thermal analysis and structural response are predicted more accurately.
The available design methods are discussed in this section together with good practice
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on detailing.

BS EN 1992-1-2(8) gives three methods for structural design of concrete in fire:

„„ tabulated data
„„ simplified calculation methods
„„ advanced calculation methods.

Table 7.1 Design method When should it be used? BS EN


Design methods in BS EN 1992-1-2.
1992-1-2
Tabulated data This is the simplest form, and can be used for all Chapter 5
elements that are covered by the tables. The answers
from the tabulated data tend to be conservative. The
design is for elements only, not the whole or part of a
structure.

Simplified calculation The simplified calculation methods are more accurate Section 4.2
methods than the tabulated data and can cover areas which are
not within the scope of the tabulated data. The design is
again for elements only, not the whole or part of a
structure.

Advanced calculation Advanced calculation methods tend to be used for Section 4.3
methods whole or parts of a structure to allow the interaction
between elements to be explored and checked. They are
potentially more accurate than the other two methods
of design, but involve significantly more information to
be known about the structure, and tend to be based on
finite-element analysis.

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7 Design methods

7.1 Combined actions The actions, or loads, to be taken in the design of the structure in case of fire can be
reduced from those taken at ambient temperature design. Statistically, it is unlikely that
the worst combinations of permanent actions and variable actions should occur at the
time when a fire breaks out. Some codes, such as the simple tabulated design approach
for columns and walls in BS EN 1992-1-2, allow a reduced load to be taken in the fire
case.

7.1.1 Permanent and variable In BS EN 1990(89) the load combinations for permanent and variable actions are typically
actions under fire (for one variable action):

conditions Either

1.35Gk + 1.5Qk (BS EN 1990, expression 6.10)


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Or the worse case of



1.35Gk + 1.5ψ0 Qk (BS EN 1990, expression 6.10a)
or 1.35ξ Gk + 1.5Qk (BS EN 1990, expression 6.10b)

where Gk is the permanent action and Qk is the variable action. The load factors (1.35
and 1.5) are given in the UK National Annex(90) and are those recommended in the main
text of the Code. The value of ξ is given in the UK National Annex and is 0.925 (the
recommended value is 0.85, in the Eurocode) and so expression 6.10b becomes:

1.25Gk + 1.5Qk

For design under fire conditions the applied load is given by:

Ed = E[Gk,j; P; Ad; (ψ1,1 or ψ2,1)Qk,1; ψ2,iQk,i] for j ≥ 1; i > 1

where:
E is the effect of actions (Ed is the design value of the effect of actions)
G is the permanent action (dead load)
P is the relevant representative value of a prestressing action (where present)
Ad is the design value of an accidental action
ψ1 is the factor for frequent value of a variable action
ψ2 is the factor for quasi-permanent value of a variable action
Qk is the characteristic value of a single variable action (Qk,1 is the characteristic value
of the leading variable action – often the imposed load)

Indirect actions (Ad) are caused by restrained thermal expansions and should be
considered unless they are negligible or favourable. Alternatively, indirect actions can be
ignored if they are accounted for by adopting conservative models, boundary conditions
and fire safety requirements.

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Design methods 7

Indirect actions can arise from:

„„ restrained longitudinal thermal expansion


„„ differing thermal expansion within statically indeterminate members
„„ thermal gradients through the cross-section inducing thermal stresses
„„ thermal expansion causing displacement of adjacent members (i.e. the lateral
displacement of column heads caused by thermal expansion of the adjacent beams)
„„ thermal expansion of heated members affecting other members outside the fire
compartment.

It is generally considered conservative practice to ignore indirect actions for the design
of members subjected to nominal design fires. In the case where indirect actions arising
from thermal gradients through the cross-section cannot be ignored, they are taken into
account in the simple calculation models. For the simple design approaches presented in
BS EN 1992-1-2 the indirect actions can be ignored.
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BS EN 1990 allows the use of either ψ1 (frequent) or ψ 2 (quasi-permanent) factors with


the main variable action, which is generally the imposed load. BS EN 1991-1-2(11)
recommends the use of ψ2, however the UK National Annex(82) specifies the use of ψ1.
The UK is therefore more conservative in this respect; for example, as shown in Table 7.2,
the factor in the UK for the imposed load in offices is 0.5 whereas the Code
recommended value is 0.3. The former takes precedence in the UK.

Table 7.2
Action ψ1 ψ2
Load factors for frequent (ψ 1) or quasi-
permanent (ψ 2) loads according to UK Imposed loads in buildings:
National Annex to BS EN 1990.
Category A: domestic, residential 0.5 0.3
Category B: office areas 0.5 0.3
Category C: congregation areas 0.7 0.6
Category D: shopping areas 0.7 0.6
Category E: storage areas 0.9 0.8
Category F: traffic area, ≤ 30 kN 0.7 0.6
Category G: traffic area, 30–160 kN 0.5 0.3
Category H: roofs 0 0

Snow load: H ≤ 1000 m a.s.l 0.2 0

Wind loads on buildings 0.2 0

As shown in BS EN 1991-1-2 and BS EN 1992-1-2, the effects of actions at the fire limit
state can be obtained from:
Ed,fi = ηfi Ed
where:
Ed,fi is the design effect of actions for the fire situation.
Ed is the design value of the corresponding force or moment for normal
temperature design
ηfi is the reduction factor for the design load level for the fire situation

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7 Design methods

If Equation 6.10 of BS EN 1990 was used for the fundamental combination, the
reduction factor ηfi is given by:

Gk + ψfiQk,1
ηfi =
γG Gk +γQ,1 Qk,1

The variation of the reduction factor with the Qk,1/Gk ratio is shown in Figure 7.1.

If Equations 6.10a and 6.10b were used for the fundamental combination, the reduction
factor ηfi is given by the smaller value of the following two expressions:

Gk + ψfiQk,1
ηfi =
γG Gk +γQ,1 ψ0,1QK,1

or
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Gk + ψfiQk,1
ηfi =
ξγG Gk +γQ,1QK,1

where:

Qk,1 is the characteristic value of the leading variable action


Gk is the characteristic value of the permanent action
γG is the partial factor for permanent actions
γQ,1 is the partial factor for variable action 1
ξ is a reduction factor for unfavourable permanent action Gk (refer BS EN
1990)
ψ0,1 is the combination factor for the characteristic value of a variable action
ψfi is the combination factor for the frequent value or quasi-permanent variable
action

Figure 7.1
Variation of the reduction factor with
ratio Qk,1/Gk derived from BS EN 1990. 0.8

0.7
fi = 0.9
Reduction factor fi

0.6
0.7

0.5
0.5

0.4

G = 1.35 0.2
0.3
Q = 1.50

0.2
0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0
Qk,1/Gk

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Design methods 7

As a very conservative estimate, ηfi can be taken as 0.7.

The Eurocodes also introduce a degree of utilisation factor or a load level factor given by:

NEd,fi
µfi =
NRd

where:

µfi is the load level in the fire situation


NEd, fi is the design effect of actions in the fire situation
NRd is the design resistance for normal temperature design

The main difference between the degree of utilisation or load level (µfi) and the
reduction factor (ηfi) is that the degree of utilisation or load level incorporates any
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additional reserve of strength due to the design resistance of the member being greater
than the minimum required to resist the design load at normal temperature. The tables
presented in BS EN 1992-1-2 for columns and walls use load levels and allow significant
savings in terms of required size of columns or thickness of wall if the load level is below
0.7, which is generally the case.

7.2 Tabulated methods The simplest design method for concrete structures is to use the tabulated data in
design guides and codes, which are based on fire resistance periods. The tabulated data
specify the minimum size of members and, for load-bearing elements, the required
position of the reinforcement. This section will concentrate on the tabulated methods in
BS EN 1992-1-2, which are slightly different, and more complex, than those given in BS
8110-1(9) and BS 8110-2(10). It is important that the designer is aware of the assumptions
associated with the tables presented in BS EN 1992-1-2(8).

The tabular data of BS EN 1992-1-2 have been developed on an empirical basis validated
by experience and theoretical evaluation of tests. The following members are covered in
the tabular data:

„„ columns (Table 5.2a and 5.2b of BS EN 1992-1-2).


„„ non-load-bearing walls (Table 5.3 of BS EN 1992-1-2)
„„ load-bearing walls (Table 5.4 of BS EN 1992-1-2)
„„ fire walls (clause 5.4.3 of BS EN 1992-1-2)
„„ simply supported beams (Table 5.5 of BS EN 1992-1-2)
„„ continuous beams (Table 5.6 of BS EN 1992-1-2)
„„ simply supported solid slabs (Table 5.8 of BS EN 1992-1-2)
„„ flat slabs (Table 5.9 of BS EN 1992-1-2)
„„ simply supported ribbed slabs (Table 5.10 of BS EN 1992-1-2)
„„ ribbed slabs with one edge restrained (Table 5.11 of BS EN 1992-1-2)

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7 Design methods

The tables provide minimum geometrical sizes for the members and minimum axis
distance to the reinforcement. It is worth noting that the specification of axis distance
(distance from exposed surface to centre of the bar) is different to BS 8110-1(9) and BS
8110-2(10) which was based on cover (distance between the reinforcing bar and exposed
surface). The axis distance is to the main reinforcement, not the shear reinforcement, as
shown in Figure 7.2. The use of an axis distance is more logical since it is the average
reinforcement temperature which is important in defining the strength of the member
in a fire.

Figure 7.2
Definition of axis distance.
Axis distance, a, to centre of main
reinforcement
f
a = cover +
a a Axis 2
distance
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a ≥ cnom + f link + f bar /2

Where the reinforcement is in several layers (Figure 7.3), the axis distance given in the
tables is the average axis distance, given by:

am = ∑Asi ai/∑Asi

where Asi is the cross-sectional area of the steel bar (tendon/wire).



Figure 7.3
Definitions used to calculate average axis
distance taken from BS EN 1992-1-2.

1 2
3
5 6
a1, a2, a3 4 7
a4, a 7 a5, a 6

a1 a3

a5 a6

The minimum axis distance for any individual bar should not be less than the axis
distance required for 30-min fire resistance (R30) for bars in a single layer, or half the
average axis distance required.

Jenny Burridge
Concrete & Fire
94 Version 1
Chap 7 Fig 7.2
08.09.08
Amendments
09.02.09, 23.02.09, 25.06.09

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Design methods 7

The following assumptions apply when using the tables in BS EN 1992-1-2.

1. The tabulated values are valid for normal-weight concrete (2000–2600 kg/m3) with
siliceous aggregates. If calcareous or lightweight aggregates are used in beams or
slabs, the minimum dimension of the cross-section may be reduced by 10%, to allow
for the better retention of strength (and lower thermal conductivity for lightweight
aggregate concrete) compared to concrete with siliceous aggregates. It should be
noted that the 10% reduction applies only to slabs and beams and not to columns
or walls.
2. The tabular data are derived based on the following critical temperature for the
tension steel in beams and slabs:
zz reinforcing bars = 500°C
zz prestressing bars = 400°C
zz prestressing strands and wires = 350°C.
It is worth noting that the tabular data in BS 8110-1 and BS 8110-2 used previously
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were based on higher critical temperatures of 550°C for reinforcing bars and 450°C
for prestressing tendons.
3. No further checks are required, when using the tabulated data, concerning shear and
torsion capacity, anchorage details and spalling (except where the axis distance is 70
mm or more). If the axis distance is 70 mm or more then surface reinforcement mesh
should be provided with a spacing of not more than 100 mm and a diameter of not
less than 4 mm.
4. Linear interpolation between the values in the table can be carried out.
5. The tables apply for normal-strength concretes, i.e. up to and including C50/60. For
high-strength concretes see section 7.2.6.
6. The axis distance in the tables relates to normal reinforcing bars. In the absence of
any special checks the axis distance in tensile members, beams and slabs should be
increased by 10 mm for prestressing bars and 15 mm for prestressing wires and
strands.
7. The tables for columns and load-bearing walls are based on the design load level (or
degree of utilisation) in the fire situation, µfi. This allows efficient designs to be
obtained since the enhanced fire resistance due to reduced loads can be taken into
account. The calculation of the design load level in a fire situation was discussed
previously in section 7.1.1. The need to carry out this calculation is a significant change
from the simple tables presented in BS 8110-1 and BS 8110-2 which assume that all
the members are fully loaded. If the designer does not want to take into account the
load effects then the assumption that the column will be fully loaded (µfi = 0.7) can
be conservatively assumed.

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7 Design methods

7.2.1 Tabulated data for The tabulated data in BS EN 1992-1-2 for columns are split into Method A and Method B.
columns All the tabulated data are valid for columns in braced structures only. The Eurocode
states that tabulated data for unbraced structures may be found in the National Annex.
The UK National Annex refers to PD 6687:2005 (171) which suggests that, at the
discretion of the designer, the methods in BS EN 1992-1-2 could be applied to unbraced
structures. This is due to the unlikelihood of all columns in a structure being subject to
fire load at the same time. The columns exposed to fire are thus braced by the columns
not affected by the fire. However, these methods should be used with caution and