Computer simulation of hollowcore concrete flooring systems exposed to fire
Thesis DisciplineCivil Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Multi-storey buildings with precast hollowcore concrete floor systems are very common in New Zealand and in many other countries, but the structural behaviour of such systems under fire exposure is not easy to predict because of the complex geometry, composite construction, and a wide range of possible support conditions. The 2006 version of the New Zealand Concrete Standard NZS3101 introduces new details for connection of hollowcore floor units to reinforced concrete supporting beams to improve seismic performance, but the fire performance of the new connection systems is unknown. Currently available methods for simulating fire performance of hollowcore slabs are not suitable for design purposes. Therefore, a simple yet sufficiently accurate simulation method needs to be developed. This study was carried out using a proposed simulation method to investigate the fire performance of hollowcore floor slabs with different connection details between the hollowcore units and their reinforced concrete supporting beams conforming to NZS3101. The proposed simulation method is examined on the platform of SAFIR, a non-linear finite element program that includes both thermal and structural analysis. The proposed simulation method was validated using available experimental results from a limited number of tests. It does not take account of shear and anchorage failures or spalling effects, so designers should consult other studies for this behaviour of hollowcore concrete flooring systems. By using the proposed simulation scheme in SAFIR, it is investigated whether the tensile membrane action established through beams parallel to the hollowcore units and different floor aspect ratios will enhance the fire resistance of hollowcore concrete flooring systems. From the simulation results it is concluded that rigid connections at both the ends and the sides of the hollowcore flooring systems to the supporting beams provide better fire resistance than rotationally flexible connections, and the fire resistance of hollowcore flooring systems can be increased by using stiffer supporting beams at the end of the slabs and also by decreasing the spacing between the beams parallel to the hollowcore units.