GeniSTELA - A Generalised Engineering Methodology for Thermal Analysis of Structural Members in Natural Fires
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The ability to predict the temperatures in protected steel structures is of vital importance for the progress of fire safety engineering. Existing methods are limited in several respects, typically being computationally restricted and limited to examination of the performance of specific components. This thesis investigates a generalised CFDbased methodology for thermal analysis of structural members in fire, developed to overcome these limitations. A novel methodology has been developed, known as GeniSTELA (Generalised Solid ThErmal Analysis), which computes a “steel temperature field” parameter in each computational cell. The approach is based on a simplified 1D model for heat transfer, together with appropriate corrections for 2D and 3D effects, to provide a quasi- 3D solution with a reasonable computational cost. GeniSTELA has been implemented as a submodel within the SOFIE RANS CFD code. The basic operation of the model has been verified and results compared to the empirical methods in EC3, indicating a satisfactory performance. The role of the surface temperature prediction has been examined and demonstrated to be important for certain cases, justifying its inclusion in the generalised method. Validation of the model is undertaken with respect to standard testing in fire resistance furnaces, examining the fire ratings of different practical protection systems, and the BRE large compartment fire tests, which looked at protected steel indicatives in full-scale post-flashover fires; in both cases, a satisfactory agreement is achieved. Model sensitivities are reported which reveal the expected strong dependencies on certain properties of thermal protection materials.