SIMPLIFIED STRUCTURAL DESIGN APPROACH FOR OPEN COMPARTMENTS IN THE CASE OF FIRE
Torero, Jose L.
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A vast majority of modern commercial and office buildings are designed to allow for maximum tenant flexibility. This results in a high demand for open floor plans and for versatility in compartmentation and architecture. The need for a thorough understanding of the behavior of a fire in such spaces is necessary for the improvement of codes and standards as well as for performance-based design. By considering the thermal properties of typical structural materials the energy equation is studied to establish if a simplified formulation of the thermal boundary condition can be used. The simplified formulation is defined by the characteristic heating time scales and the sensitivity of the structure to develop temperature gradients. Understanding the way in which a structure heats enables engineers to establish an adequate formulation of the fire. A series of full-scale large compartment fires were conducted in order to study the influence on fire behavior on open floor plan spaces in a project called ‘Real Fires for the Safe Design of Tall Buildings’. This work presents the results from some experiments of the series. The focus is to quantify the fire behavior in what pertains the performance assessment of structural elements. The main objective is to deliver a simplified design approach based on a detailed analysis of the data. Analysis shows that simplifications can be made for boundary conditions and temperature evolution inside materials in specific conditions.