A set of novel structural fire tests on axially loaded cross-laminated timber (CLT) compression elements (walls), locally exposed to thermal radiation sufficient to cause sustained flaming combustion, are presented and discussed. Test specimens were subjected to a sustained compressive load, equivalent to 10 % or 20 % of their nominal ambient axial compressive capacity. The walls were then locally exposed to a nominal constant incident heat flux of 50 kW/m2 over their mid height area until failure occurred. The axial and lateral deformations of the walls were measured and compared against predictions calculated using a finite Bernoulli beam element analysis, to shed light on the fundamental mechanics and needs for rational structural design of CLT compression elements in fire. For the walls tested herein, failure at both ambient and elevated temperature was due to global buckling. At high temperature failure results from excessive lateral deflections and second order flexural effects due to reductions the walls’ effective crosssection and flexural rigidity, as well as a shift of the effective neutral axis in bending during fire. Measured average one-dimensional charring rates ranged between 0.82 and 1.0 mm/min in these tests. As expected, the lamellae configuration greatly influenced the walls’ deformation responses and times to failure; with 3- ply walls failing earlier than those with 5-plies. The walls’ deformation response during heating suggests that, if a conventional reduced cross section method (RCSM), zero strength layer analysis were undertaken, the required zero strength layer depths would range between 15.2 mm and 21.8 mm. Deflection paths further suggest that the concept of a zero strength layer is inadequate for properly capturing the mechanical response of fire-exposed CLT compression elements.
International Journal of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Cross-laminated timber is increasingly being used in the construction of high-rise buildings due to its simple manufacturing system. In term of fire resistance, cross-laminated timber panels are promoted as having excellent fire resistance, comparable to that of non-combustible materials and to heavy timber construction, due to the ability of thick wood assemblies to char slowly at a predictable rate while maintaining most of their strength during the fire exposure. This paper presents an overview of fire performance of cross-laminated timber and evaluation of its resistance to elevated temperature in comparison to homogeneous timber panels. Charring rates for cross-laminated timber panels of those obtained experimentally were compared with those provided by Eurocode simplified calculation methods. Keywords—Timber structure, cross-laminated timber, charring rate, timber fire resistance.
This paper presents a numerical model for heat transfer in timber structures. The thermal behaviour is described by the standard Fourier heat equation. The chosen model integrates the three modes of heat transfer; namely: conduction, radiation and convection during the fire exposure. The theory and the boundary conditions associated with the model are briefly discussed. The identification of the model parameters is carried out with the experimental data available in literature. The simulation results are compared with experiments carried out on laminated veneer lumber (LVL) panels.
Fire safety has always been a major concern in the design of timber construction. Even though wood is a highly combustible material, timber members can perform adequately under elevated temperatures. The thermal response of timber connections, however, is in most cases poor and determination of their fire resistance is usually the crucial factor in evaluating the overall load-bearing capacity of wood structures exposed to fire. The analysis of timber joints under fire conditions can be challenging due to their complexity and variety. After presenting the variation of the properties of timber with temperature, this paper reviews the fire performance of various connection types, such as bolted or nailed wood-to-wood and steel-to-timber joints. Results from relevant experimental programs and numerical studies are discussed in detail and future research needs are highlighted. The effect of several factors on the fire resistance of timber connections, such as the fastener diameter, timber thickness and joint geometry, is investigated and useful conclusions are drawn. Based on these, preliminary guidelines for the efficient design of timber connections under fire exposure are presented.
This paper summarizes the experimental results from a series of tests that investigated the performance of timber-to-steel tensile connections exposed to fire. A series of fire-resistance tests were conducted on bolted wood-steelwood and steel-wood-steel connections loaded in tension. Each specimen had different cross-sectional area, fastener diameter, fastener spacing, edge distance, and tension load. The fire temperature profile produced by the furnace used both the standard time-temperature curve CAN/ULC-S101 and a non-standard time-temperature curve based on previous studies done at Carleton University. Results showed that the wood-steel-wood specimens had a longer time to failure than steel-wood-steel specimens with the same dimensions. The heat transfer and structural modeling portion of this research is currently underway using three-dimensional finite-element models.
The superior fire performance of timber can be attributed to the charring effect of wood. As wood members are exposed to fire, an insulating char layer is formed that protects the core of the section. Thus, beams and columns can be designed so that a sufficient cross section of wood remains to sustain the design loads for the required duration of fire exposure. A standard fire exposure is used for design purposes. In North America, this exposure is described in the standard fire resistance test ASTM E 119 . Many other countries use a comparable test exposure found in ISO 834 . In spite of the difference between standard dire resistance tests, experimental charring rates measured in various parts of the world appear to be consistent. This justifies the use of such data for design, regardless of origin.
A series of compartment fire experiments has been undertaken to evaluate the impact of combustible cross laminated timber linings on the compartment fire behaviour. Compartment heat release rates and temperatures are reported for three configuration of exposed timber surfaces. Auto-extinction of the compartment was observed in one case but this was not observed when the experiment was repeated under identical condition. This highlights the strong interaction between the exposed combustible material and the resulting fire dynamics. For large areas of exposed timber linings heat transfer within the compartment dominates and prevents auto-extinction. A framework is presented based on the relative durations of the thermal penetration time of a timber layer and compartment fire duration to account for the observed differences in fire dynamics. This analysis shows that fall-off of the charred timber layers is a key contributor to whether auto-extinction can be achieved.
As timber buildings are constructed taller, architects and building owners are asking for more timber to be exposed. Addressing how exposed timber and in particular cross laminated timber, influences a fully developed fire through to self-extinguishment is a current and complex fire safety issue. There is limited research available on how exposed timber alters heat release rate, temperatures and fire duration. This paper provides a summary of the relevant research to understand similarities in findings and how the results of fire tests can be applied. Research shows that large areas of exposed timber has a significant impact on heat release rate, but limited areas of exposed timber can be accommodated within a fire safe design. The location of exposed timber and avoiding two or more adjacent exposed surfaces, is an important finding. It is evident from the limited testing that a single exposed timber wall of approximately 20% of the total wall area has little impact on a compartment fire. The development of a calculation methodology to account for the change in compartment fire dynamics when two or more surfaces are exposed is the next step in the advancement of exposed timber fire safety engineering.