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Engineering Approach for Designing a Thermal Test of Real-scale Steel Beam Exposed to Localized Fire



Chao Zhang, Lisa Y. Choe, John L. Gross, Selvarajah Ramesh, Matthew F. Bundy


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has completed construction of a new facility, the National Fire Research Laboratory (NFRL), which allows scientists and engineers to conduct research on the response of real-scale structural systems to realistic fire and mechanical loading under controlled laboratory conditions. This paper reports the design and results of a thermal test on heating of a 6 m long steel W beam subjected to a localized fire conducted at the NFRL. A recently developed simple approach and a sophisticated simulation approach were used to determine the test fire. Both approaches successfully predicted the heat release rate for the test fire. A calibration test was also conducted to understand the difference between the predicted and measured steel temperatures in the investigated test. The study is not necessarily a validation of either the simple or sophisticated approach, rather the study provides a successful case study using current knowledge and tools to design realistic and controlled fire tests.
Fire Technology


Localized fire, Controllable test, Steel beam, FDS-FEM approach, Simple approach, Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS), Adiabatic surface temperature, Finite element simulation, Plate thermocouple, Temperature calculation, Experimental design
Created January 13, 2017, Updated August 1, 2017