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01-11-2019 | Issue 3/2020

Fire Technology 3/2020

Design of an ASTM E119 Fire Environment in a Large Compartment

Journal:
Fire Technology > Issue 3/2020
Authors:
Chao Zhang, William Grosshandler, Ana Sauca, Lisa Choe
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Abstract

Structural fire protection design in the United States is based on prescriptive fire-resistance ratings of individual load-bearing elements which are derived from standard fire testing, e.g. ASTM E119. In standard fire testing, a custom-built gas furnace is traditionally used to heat a test specimen by following the gas temperature-time curve prescribed in the ASTM E119 standard. The span length of the test specimen seldom exceeds 6 m due to the size limitations of available furnaces. Further, the test specimen does not incorporate realistic structural continuity. This paper presents a basis for designing an ASTM E119 fire environment in a large compartment of about 10 m wide, 7 m deep and 3.8 m high constructed in the National Fire Research Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Using the designed fire parameters which include heat release rate curve and opening condition (size and configuration), a full-scale experiment was carried out on December 20, 2018. The measured average upper layer gas temperature curve was consistent with the E119 fire curve. The maximum difference between the measured curve and the E119 fire curve towards the end of the test was about 70\(^\circ \hbox {C}\) (7%). The study indicates that by proper design and control, the time-temperature curve for the standard fire testing may be approximated in a real compartment.

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