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

Published: January 13, 2017


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.
Citation: Fire Technology
Pub Type: Journals

Download Paper


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 01, 2017