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Modeling structures in fire with SAFIR®: theoretical background and capabilities

Jean-Marc Franssen (Structural Engineering Division, University of Liege, Liege, Belgium)
Thomas Gernay (The National Fund for Scientific Research F.R.S.-FNRS, Structural Engineering Division, University of Liege, Liege, Belgium)

Journal of Structural Fire Engineering

ISSN: 2040-2317

Article publication date: 22 June 2017

Issue publication date: 16 August 2017




This paper aims to describe the theoretical background and main hypotheses at the basis of SAFIR®, a nonlinear finite element software for modeling structures in fire. The paper also explains how to use the software at its full extent. The discussed numerical modeling principles can be applied with other similar software.


Following a general overview of the organization of the software, the thermal analysis part is explained, with the basic equations and the different possibilities to apply thermal boundary conditions (compartment fire, localized fire, etc.). Next, the mechanical analysis part is detailed, including the time integration procedures and the different types of finite elements: beam, truss, shell, spring and solid. Finally, the material laws are described. The software capabilities and limitations are discussed throughout the paper.


By accommodating multiple types of finite elements and materials, by allowing the user to consider virtually any section type and to input the fire attack in multiple forms, the software SAFIR® is a comprehensive tool for investigating the behavior of structures in the fire situation. Meanwhile, being developed exclusively for its well-defined field of application, it remains relatively easy to use.

Originality value

The paper will improve the knowledge of readers (researchers, designers and authorities) about numerical modeling used in structural fire engineering in general and the capabilities of a particular software largely used in the fire engineering community.



Franssen, J.-M. and Gernay, T. (2017), "Modeling structures in fire with SAFIR®: theoretical background and capabilities", Journal of Structural Fire Engineering, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 300-323.



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