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10-03-2018 | Issue 4/2018

Fire Technology 4/2018

Predicting the Fire Dynamics of Exposed Timber Surfaces in Compartments Using a Two-Zone Model

Journal:
Fire Technology > Issue 4/2018
Authors:
Colleen Wade, Michael Spearpoint, Charles Fleischmann, Greg Baker, Anthony Abu

Abstract

There is an increasing desire to use more engineered timber products in buildings, due to the perceived aesthetics of timber and desire for more sustainable architecture. However, there are concerns about fire performance of these products especially in taller buildings. This has led to renewed research to understand the behaviour of timber surfaces in compartments exposed to fire. This paper describes a two-zone calculation model for determining the fire environment within a compartment constructed from timber products where varying amounts of timber are exposed on the walls and ceiling. A set of eight full-scale compartment experiments previously reported in the literature are used to assess the capability of the model. The fire load energy density in the experiments ranged from 92 MJ/m2 to 366 MJ/m2 comprising either wood cribs or bedroom furniture with the largest compartment having dimensions 4.5 × 3.5 × 2.5 m high with an opening 1.069 m wide × 2.0 m high. The experiments were ventilation-controlled. It is shown that the model can be used to provide conservative predictions of the fire temperatures for compartments with timber exposed on the walls and/or ceiling as part of an engineering analysis. There are several limitations that are discussed including the need to consider the debonding of layers in the case of cross-laminated timber. It is recommended that further benchmarking of the model be done for different ventilation conditions and with engineered timber products where debonding does not occur. This will test the model under a wider range of conditions than examined in this paper.

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