To read this content please select one of the options below:

Travelling fire experiments in steel-framed structure: numerical investigations with CFD and FEM

Marion Charlier (ArcelorMittal Global R&D, Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg)
Antoine Glorieux (ArcelorMittal Global R&D, Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg)
Xu Dai (School of Engineering, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK)
Naveed Alam (FireSERT, Ulster University, Newtownabbey, UK)
Stephen Welch (School of Engineering, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK)
Johan Anderson (RISE Research Institutes of Sweden AB, Borås, Sweden)
Olivier Vassart (ArcelorMittal Steligence, Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg)
Ali Nadjai (FireSERT, Ulster University, Newtownabbey, UK)

Journal of Structural Fire Engineering

ISSN: 2040-2317

Article publication date: 21 May 2021

Issue publication date: 17 August 2021




The purpose of this paper is to propose a simplified representation of the fire load in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to represent the effect of large-scale travelling fire and to highlight the relevance of such an approach whilst coupling the CFD results with finite element method (FEM) to evaluate related steel temperatures, comparing the numerical outcomes with experimental measurements.


This paper presents the setup of the CFD simulations (FDS software), its corresponding assumptions and the calibration via two natural fire tests whilst focusing on gas temperatures and on steel temperatures measured on a central column. For the latter, two methods are presented: one based on EN 1993-1-2 and another linking CFD and FEM (SAFIR® software).


This paper suggests that such an approach can allow for an acceptable representation of the travelling fire both in terms of fire spread and steel temperatures. The inevitable limitations inherent to the simplifications made during the CFD simulations are also discussed. Regarding steel temperatures, the two methods lead to quite similar results, but with the ones obtained via CFD–FEM coupling are closer to those measured.


This work has revealed that the proposed simplified representation of the fire load appears to be appropriate to evaluate the temperature of steel structural elements within reasonable limits on computational time, making it potentially desirable for practical applications. This paper also presents the first comparisons of FDS–SAFIR® coupling with experimental results, highlighting promising outcomes.



This work was carried out in the frame of the TRAFIR project with funding from the Research Fund for Coal and Steel (grant N°754198). Partners involved in this project are ArcelorMittal Belval and Differdange, Liége University, the University of Edinburgh, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden and the University of Ulster. The authors would like to express their gratitude to the whole TRAFIR consortium.


Charlier, M., Glorieux, A., Dai, X., Alam, N., Welch, S., Anderson, J., Vassart, O. and Nadjai, A. (2021), "Travelling fire experiments in steel-framed structure: numerical investigations with CFD and FEM", Journal of Structural Fire Engineering, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 309-327.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles