The reason why concrete is the prime choice with regards to fire safety standards is because of its resistance and low conduction of heat. There have been numerous works performed that display this behavior of concrete to high temperatures (Kodur et. al 1997) and this paper aims to add to the pool of knowledge by comparing the performance of concrete with other building materials such as wood, aluminum and steel.
This will be achieved by subjecting the four building materials in different setups and evaluating the performance of each material. The following characteristics will be measured: fire resistance, combustibility, fire load contribution, temperature, restorability and integrity after fire. Rating will be given for each of the construction material after the collation of the said parameters. That concrete leads in the said properties will be given evidence in this project.
Timber or wood is known as one of the oldest construction materials known to man. It comes from felled trees and processed before utilization by cutting, strengthening and polishing to name a few steps. The most common trees that are used as timber are pine, cedar and hemlock. Fir and spruce also serve the same purpose as several hardwoods. The advantages of using wood include: flexibility, warmth, provides good insulation, safe, lightweight but strong and durable (Roadmap 2008). Disadvantages include: prone to rotting, termite and fire damage (Redmond 1971).
Aluminum is a metal alloy in the form of iron, tin or copper and can be found abundantly in nature (Lauritzen 2008). It provides high strength to weight ratio. It also has good stress or fatigue resistance. The advantages of using aluminum in construction include flexibility, lightweight, formability, durability, low maintenance, good insulation and fire resistance (AFSA 2006).
Steel is commonly made up of iron and