This paper aims to present an investigation conducted to evaluate the effects of important parameters affecting the structural fire performance of light gauge steel frame (LSF) walls. It also evaluates the applicability of commonly used critical hot flange temperature method to determine the fire resistance ratings (FRR) of different LSF walls.
The effects of important parameters such as stud section profiles and their dimensions, elevated temperature mechanical property reduction factors of the steel used, types of wall configurations and fire curves on the FRR of LSF walls were investigated. An extensive finite element analysis-based parametric study was conducted to evaluate their effects (finite element analysis – FEA). For this purpose, finite element models which were validated using the full-scale fire test results were used. Using the structural capacities obtained from FEAs, the load ratio versus FRR curves were produced for all the different LSF walls considered.
Stud depth and thickness significantly affected the fire performance of LSF walls because of the differences in temperature development pattern, thermal bowing deflections and the failure modes of stud. The FRR of LSF walls increased significantly when steel studs with higher elevated temperature mechanical property reduction factors were used. FRR significantly changed when realistic design fire curves were used instead of the standard fire curve. Furthermore, both the critical hot and average flange temperature methods were found to be unsuitable to predict the FRR of LSF walls.
The developed comprehensive fire performance data would facilitate the development of LSF walls with enhanced fire performance, and, importantly, it would facilitate and advance the successful applications of hollow flange channel section studs in LSF walls.
The authors would like to thank Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and Australian Research Council for providing the financial support to conduct this research project and QUT for providing the high-performance computing facilities.
Kesawan, S. and Mahendran, M. (2017), "Fire performance of LSF walls made of hollow flange channel studs", Journal of Structural Fire Engineering, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 149-180. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSFE-03-2017-0027
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