Performance-based structural fire design of steel frames using conventional computer software

Y. K. Chan, C. K. Iu, Siu Lai Chan, F. G. Albermani

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Fire incident in buildings is common, so the fire safety design of the framed structure is imperative, especially for the unprotected or partly protected bare steel frames. However, software for structural fire analysis is not widely available. As a result, the performance-based structural fire design is urged on the basis of using user-friendly and conventional nonlinear computer analysis programs so that engineers do not need to acquire new structural analysis software for structural fire analysis and design. The tool is desired to have the capacity of simulating the different fire scenarios and associated detrimental effects efficiently, which includes second-order P-D and P-d effects and material yielding. Also the nonlinear behaviour of large-scale structure becomes complicated when under fire, and thus its simulation relies on an efficient and effective numerical analysis to cope with intricate nonlinear effects due to fire. To this end, the present fire study utilizes a secondorder elastic/plastic analysis software NIDA to predict structural behaviour of bare steel framed structures at elevated temperatures. This fire study considers thermal expansion and material degradation due to heating. Degradation of material strength with increasing temperature is included by a set of temperature-stress-strain curves according to BS5950 Part 8 mainly, which implicitly allows for creep deformation. This finite element stiffness formulation of beam-column elements is derived from the fifth-order PEP element which facilitates the computer modeling by one member per element. The Newton-Raphson method is used in the nonlinear solution procedure in order to trace the nonlinear equilibrium path at specified elevated temperatures. Several numerical and experimental verifications of framed structures are presented and compared against solutions in literature. The proposed method permits engineers to adopt the performance-based structural fire analysis and design using typical second-order nonlinear structural analysis software.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-222
Number of pages16
JournalSteel and Composite Structures
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • Finite element method
  • Fire analysis
  • Nonlinear analysis
  • Steel structures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Metals and Alloys

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