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Fire Resistance Determination & Performance Prediction Research Needs Workshop: Proceedings



William L. Grosshandler


The Building and Fire Research Laboratory initiated a program prior to the events of September 11, 2001, to put structural fire protection on a stronger scientific footing. The catastrophic collapses of the World Trade Center underscored the need to accelerate this effort. A workshop calling upon scientific and engineering experts in materials, fire protection, and structural dynamics was held February 19 and 20, 2002, at NIST to identify the research required to underpin meaningful test and predictive methods for use in evaluating the performance of structures subject to actual fires. The specific objectives of the workshop were to review current practices for achieving fire resistance; to explore the promise of fire dynamics simulations and structural behavior predictions; to identify new fire resistance options coming from materials science; to identify opportunities and needs in advanced computational methods; and to identify applications and needs for emerging measurement, instrumentation and test methods. Commercial, academic and government experts provided background and suggestions on how best to achieve the objectives, from the perspective of the discipline they represented. This information is summarized in these Proceedings. Key recommendations include the following: to develop new experimental methods for measuring high temperature thermal and mechanical properties of structural and insulating materials; to develop experimental facilities and capabilities for measuring the behavior of real-scale connections and assemblies under controlled fires up to the point of failure; to improve the physics and speed of sophisticated numerical models, and to expand the use and acceptance of proven, simpler computational design tools; to establish as a goal the need to predict the performance of coupled building systems to the point of impending failure; to develop a strategy to effectively incorporate technological advances in structural fire resistance into engineering tools that support performance-based design alternatives; to train and communicate better among the architecture and engineering professions; and to appreciate the needs of, and better train, building code officials and regulators.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 6890
Report Number


building performance, building research, fire proofing, fire research, fire resistance, structural fires


Grosshandler, W. (2002), Fire Resistance Determination & Performance Prediction Research Needs Workshop: Proceedings, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed June 19, 2024)


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Created September 1, 2002, Updated November 10, 2018