Resilient design of structural timber beam-to-column connections in fire condition

This research will investigate the performance of structural timber connections exposed to fire. Understanding of timber structures in fire is growing. Simple solutions exist for simple elements: beams, columns, floors, etc. However, most of these methods are based on standard fire exposure. In practice the residual timber degrades in the decay phase of the fire. Thus, relying on standard fire resistance tests is not sufficient for these structures. The charring behaviour of timber in real fires must be accounted for, even after the building contents have burned away.

Connection behaviour in timber in fire conditions has typically focused on tension-type connections. However, beam-column connections are more realistic and their behaviour in fire will introduce a variety of actions, including moments into the connection. These need to be studied further in order to develop design principles.

Specifically, the tendency for sustained charring and degradation of timber elements during the decay period of the fire will be investigated, along with the performance of connections in this period. This is important because we want timber structures to be resilient in fire so that they can be designed to achieve structural stability during and following fire. This is especially important in tall timber structures where collapse must be avoided, so that timber structural systems can be easily repaired following fire.

Experiments will be conducted on typical full-scale timber connections, and then modelled with finite element software. The experimental and numerical investigation will lead to the development of simplified design rules for these connections under fire conditions. 

Fire Safety

Project Researchers

  • Investigate the performance of structural timber connections exposed to re.
  • Develop design principles for beam- column timber connections.
  • Investigate tendency for sustained charring and degradation of timber elements during the decay period of re. 
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