• Seungjea Lee

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis presents the results of a research programme to investigate the behaviour and robustness of reinforced concrete (RC) frames in fire. The research was carried out through numerical simulations using the commercial finite element analysis package TNO DIANA. The main focus of the project is the large deflection behaviour of restrained reinforced concrete beams, in particular the development of catenary action, because this behaviour is the most important factor that influences the frame response under accidental loading. This research includes four main parts as follows: (1) validation of the simulation model; (2) behaviour of axially and rotationally restrained RC beams at elevated temperatures; (3) derivation of an analytical method to estimate the key quantities of restrained RC beam behaviour at elevated temperatures; (4) response and robustness of RC frame structures with different extents of damage at elevated temperatures.The analytical method has been developed to estimate the following three quantities: when the axial compression force in the restrained beam reaches the maximum; when the RC beams reach bending limits (axial force = 0) and when the beams finally fail. To estimate the time to failure, which is initiated by the fracture of reinforcement steel at the catenary action stage, a regression equation is proposed to calculate the maximum deflections of RC beams, based on an analysis of the reinforcement steel strain distributions at failure for a large number of parametric study results. A comparison between the analytical and simulation results indicates that the analytical method gives reasonably good approximations to the numerical simulation results.Based on the frame simulation results, it has been found that if a member is completely removed from the structure, the structure is unlikely to be able to develop an alternative load carrying mechanism to ensure robustness of the structure. This problem is particularly severe when a corner column is removed. However, it is possible for frames with partially damaged columns to achieve the required robustness in fire, provided the columns still have sufficient resistance to allow the beams to develop some catenary action. This may be possible if the columns are designed as simply supported columns, but have some reserves of strength in the frame due to continuity. Merely increasing the reinforcement steel area or ductility (which is difficult to do) would not be sufficient. However, increasing the cover thickness of the reinforcement steel to slow down the temperature increase is necessary.
Date of Award31 Dec 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorYong Wang (Supervisor)


  • tying method
  • elevated temperatures
  • catenary action
  • level of axial restraints
  • reinforced concrete building
  • Robustness
  • fire engineering

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