The Southern African Institute of Steel Construction has developed a novel cellular beam structure (CBS) for multi-storey buildings that is entirely devoid of concrete. Channel sections between the cellular beams support a complex sandwich flooring system, which contains a fire-resistant ceiling board, metal sheeting, an interior fibre-cement board and an access-flooring system. As for all structures, the CBS requires a fire rating. This paper aims to investigate the thermal behaviour of the CBS using numerical modelling and experimental fire testing, as it has a unique setup.
Experimental fire tests on the flooring system were conducted to validate finite element models, which were developed in ABAQUS. These models were then extended to include floor beams and the structural steelwork.
Good correlations were found between the experimental and numerical results, with temperature variations typically in the range of 0-5%, although with localised differences of up to 20%. This allowed larger finite element models, representing the sandwich floor system of the CBS, to be developed and analysed. A 1-hour rating can be obtained by the system in terms of insulation and integrity requirements.
The CBS allows for more economical steel structures, due to the rapid construction of its modular panels. A suitable fire resistance will ensure the safety of the occupants and prevent major structural damage. Steelwork and flooring temperatures are determined which has allowed for global structural analyses to be carried out.
The originality of this study lies in thermal analysis and testing of a new cellular beam flooring system, through determining behaviour in fire, along with beam temperatures.
This work has been supported in part by the National Research Foundation of South Africa under a Thuthuka grant, Unique Grant No. 99304. Any opinion, finding and conclusion or recommendation expressed in this material is that of the author(s) and the NRF does not accept any liability in this regard.
Marx, H. and Walls, R. (2019), "Thermal behaviour of a novel non-composite cellular beam floor system in fire", Journal of Structural Fire Engineering, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 354-372. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSFE-10-2018-0032Download as .RIS
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