Fires are arguably the biggest hazard in terms of engineering difficulty. With winds, earthquakes and storms, the change is only in terms of the loads upon a structure. The behavior of the structure and the materials in it is mostly the same, thus precautionary measures are easier to engineer and hazard predictions can be made.
In case of fires, the material properties themselves change. The major structural materials – steel, concrete, wood and masonry – all lose their structural integrity and strength as temperatures are raised higher and higher and beyond a certain limit, each of these materials is no longer able to sustain the loads that they need to bear. Another important feature that needs to be focused on is that these materials are usually not used by themselves; rather they work in conjunction with each other, e.g. steel reinforcement of concrete pillars. When such a structure is subjected to higher temperatures, the steel and the concrete might be, by themselves, within their usable limit, but the bonding interface between the two materials may cause failure. As more and more complex designs are being made, joining of varied materials is becoming a very important field in itself. Although the joining materials might be stronger than the materials joined at room temperatures, yet they might lose their joining ability at lower temperatures than the temperature at which the joined materials lose their integrity.
With higher and higher focus on cost reduction, designers and engineers are being pushed to replace fire emergency equipment and repair costs with nothing i.e. they are being asked to use materials which can resist fires without damages. Thus fire resistant design is very important.
This paper focuses on the different methods of assessing the high temperature properties of a certain structure, setting up experiments for the assessment, and it also focuses on different case studies shedding light on the properties of