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Localized Fire for Structural Safety
Date: 2015-06-17   Author:   Source:
Title: Localized Fire for Structural Safety
Speaker: Dr. Chao Zhang
From: National Fire Research Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, USA
Date: Apr. 8, 2015
CV of the Speaker:
Dr Chao Zhang is a guest researcher of the National Fire Research Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Dr Zhang has been involved in structural fire research for around 8 years. He have authored or co-authored 22 articles in internationally recognized journals. He is serving as a committee member for the ASCE/SEI Technical Committee on Fire Protection and a reviewer for several journals in the area of structural and fire engineering, e.g. Fire Safety Journal. Dr. Zhang also participated in the fire safety design work of many major industrial projects in China. Dr. Zhang’s research has received recognition from both academia and industry. He received the IAFSS Best Thesis Award “Excellence in Research” for years 2011-2014, Springer Thesis Prize 2015, Arup Research Prize 2011. 

The traditional fire safety design is based on compartmentation which breaks up total building volume into small cells where fires can be localized and suppressed. Fire spread between compartments is prevented by requiring the boundaries be made with sufficient fire resistance ratings. In modern buildings, large volumes (e.g. atria) and open floor plans are widely used that the traditional fire safety design methods become invalid and the performance based design methods have been developed. Researches on performance of structures under realistic fires are essentially important and necessary to make the performance based structural fire safety design practicable.

This seminar begins with a brief review of the structural fire research. The application of localized fires for structural safety design is discussed. Some recent studies on the thermal calculation and structural analysis of steel members subjected to localized fires are presented. Simple and sophisticated fire models were used to calculate the temperature of exposed steel members in a localized fire. Thermo-mechanical simulations were performed to investigate the failure mode of bare steel members in a localized fire. Due to thermal gradient, a bare steel member may fail in a totally different way in a localized fire than in a standard fire; and the failure temperature for a bare steel member in a localized fire might be hundreds of degree lower than that in a standard fire. Recent progress in fire-structure interface research is also introduced.

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