Spalling of concrete: Implications for structural performance in fire
This preliminary paper is a progress report on an analytical investigation into the implications of explosive spalling on the fire performance of reinforced concrete structural elements and whole structures. This study does not attempt to predict whether spalling will occur. For accurate prediction of the occurrence of spalling a complete and fully coupled hygro-thermal-mechanical (HTM) analysis is required, as described by a comprehensive review of current research into the parameters and mechanisms that influence spalling, including a review of physical spalling criteria. This paper describes the structural performance of spalled concrete elements, using finite element analysis where spalling is modelled by removing layers of concrete when a set of spalling criteria are met. The method is presented using a case study of a simply supported reinforced concrete beam, where the analytical results indicate that spalling invariably triggers an early failure (well short of the required FRR rating) of a beam exposed to the standard fire.