Fire Imposed Heat Fluxes for Structural Analysis
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The last two decades have seen new insights, data and analytical methods to establish the behaviour of structures in fire. These methods have slowly migrated into practice and now form the basis for modern quantitative structural fire engineering. This study presents a novel methodology for determining the imposed heat fluxes on structural members. To properly characterise the temperature rise of the structural elements, a post-processing model for computational fluid dynamics tools was developed to establish the heat fluxes imposed on all surfaces by a fire. This model acts as a tool for any computational fluid dynamics model and works on the basis of well resolved local gas conditions. Analysis of the smoke layer and products of combustion allow for heat fluxes to be defined based on smoke absorption coefficients and temperatures. These heat fluxes are defined at all points on the structure by considering full spatial and temporal distributions. Furthermore, heat fluxes are defined by considering directionality and both characteristic length and time scales in fires. Length scales are evaluated for different structural member geometries, while time scales are evaluated for different structural materials including applied fire protection. It is the output given by this model that provides the input for the thermal analysis of the structural members that is a necessary step prior to the structural analysis to be undertaken. The model is validated against the experimental results of the previously mentioned large scale fire tests, showing good agreement. In addition, comparisons are made to current methods to highlight their potential inadequacies.