Parametric study of the behaviour of reinforced concrete columns in fire
The research is concerned with the application of the computer simulation technique to study the performance of reinforced concrete columns in a fire environment. The effect of three different concrete constitutive models incorporated in the computer simulation on the structural response of reinforced concrete columns exposed to fire is investigated. The material models differed mainly in respect to the formulation of the mechanical properties of concrete. The results from the simulation have clearly illustrated that a more realistic response of a reinforced concrete column exposed to fire is given by a constitutive model with transient creep or appropriate strain effect The assessment of the relative effect of the three concrete material models is considered from the analysis by adopting the approach of a parametric study, carried out using the results from a series of analyses on columns heated on three sides which produce substantial thermal gradients. Three different loading conditions were used on the column; axial loading and eccentric loading both to induce moments in the same sense and opposite sense to those induced by the thermal gradient. An axially loaded column heated on four sides was also considered. The computer modelling technique adopted separated the thermal and structural responses into two distinct computer programs. A finite element heat transfer analysis was used to determine the thermal response of the reinforced concrete columns when exposed to the ISO 834 furnace environment. The temperature distribution histories obtained were then used in conjunction with a structural response program. The effect of the occurrence of spalling on the structural behaviour of reinforced concrete column is also investigated. There is general recognition of the potential problems of spalling but no real investigation into what effect spalling has on the fire resistance of reinforced concrete members. In an attempt to address the situation, a method has been developed to model concrete columns exposed to fire which incorporates the effect of spalling. A total of 224 computer simulations were undertaken by varying the amounts of concrete lost during a specified period of exposure to fire. An array of six percentages of spalling were chosen for one range of simulation while a two stage progressive spalling regime was used for a second range. The quantification of the reduction in fire resistance of the columns against the amount of spalling, heating and loading patterns, and the time at which the concrete spalls appears to indicate that it is the amount of spalling which is the most significant variable in the reduction of fire resistance.