Advances in Structural Engineering Research

Single Abstract

343243 - Hybrid fire testing: a new approach to assess the fire response of structural elements

Friday, April 20
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Location: 202A

The response of structural systems to fire loads is typically assessed through performing ‘standard’ tests on the system’s individual members under constant mechanical boundary conditions throughout the entire tests. Full scale tests, performed on entire structures, showed differences in their behavior compared to the behavior of the individual members tested in standard testing conditions. However, full-scale tests of structural systems remain impractical due to physical, economical, and time constraints. Thus, an ideal goal remains to have the capability to predict the global behavior of the structural system (i.e., behavior of a full-scale test) though experimentally testing individual structural members. A promising approach to that problem is “Hybrid Fire Testing (HFT)”. In HFT, a subset of the structural system (individual member(s)), referred to as the Physical Substructure (PS), is physically tested under combined structural and fire loads, while the remaining structure, referred to as Numerical Substructure (NS), is simultaneously numerically analyzed. During the test, the mechanical boundary conditions on the PS are continuously updated based on the computational response of the NS, and the input for analysis of the NS is continuously updated to reflect the physical response of the PS. Hybrid testing has proven its success in the structural-seismic field. However, certain challenges are unique to HFT due to the continuous fire exposure which induces continuous thermal expansions. This paper/presentation describes a recent HFT study on a two-story multi-span steel framed structural assembly that focuses on stability, equilibrium, and compatibility to predict the system’s structural behavior under combined structural and fire loads. The newly developed technique overcomes instability issues which otherwise occurred in other studies reported in the literature. The goal of this work is to provide the data needed for the development of tools, guides, and standards that will enable engineers to design for safe structures under realistic fire loading scenarios.

Ana SAUCA

Research associate
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Dr. Sauca received a M.Sc. followed by a Ph.D. in Civil (Structural) Engineering from the Liege University in February of 2017. The research at the Liege University focused on the development of a new method to perform fire tests, called Hybrid Fire Testing. Dr. Sauca has also earned a M.Sc. degree in Structural Engineering from Technical University of Cluj-Napoca in 2013, where her thesis focused on the tension estimation of cables by vibration analysis.

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Chao Zhang

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Dr. Chao Zhang joined the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as a guest researcher in October 2012. His research focuses on simulating the performance of structures in realistic fires.

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Lisa Choe

Research Structural Engineer
National Institute of Standards and Technology

Dr. Lisa Choe is a Research Structural Engineer in the National Fire Research Laboratory (NFRL) with the Fire Research Division (FRD) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

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Selvarajah Ramesh

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Research Associate at the NIST.

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Mina Seif

Research Structural Engineer
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Dr. Seif is a licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.), working as a Research Structural Engineer in the National Fire Research Laboratory (NFRL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), studying structural behavior under realistic fire loading. He received a MSc followed by a PhD in Structural Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, with a dissertation focused on the cross-sectional stability of high-strength structural steel. He also chairs the Structural Stability Research Counsel’s (SSRC) Task Group on “Stability under extreme loads”, and is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers/ Structural Engineering Institute’s (ASCE/SEI) “Fire Protection Committee”.

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