• Ima Rahmanian

Student thesis: Phd


Gypsum board assemblies are now widely used in buildings, as fire resistant walls or ceilings, to provide passive fire protection. The fire resistance of such systems is fundamentally due to the desirable thermal properties of gypsum. Yet there is wide variability in reported values of thermal properties of gypsum at high temperatures and a lack of understanding of its integrity in fire. To evaluate the fire protection performance of gypsum board assemblies, it is essential to quantify its thermal properties and obtain information on its mechanical properties at high temperatures. Gypsum boards shrink and crack at high temperatures, and this leads to collapse of parts of the gypsum boards in fire. Fall-off of gypsum in fire affects the fire resistance of the assembly considerably, and cannot be overlooked when evaluating the fire resistance of gypsum board assemblies.The current research proposes a model to define the temperature-dependent thermal properties of gypsum boards at high temperatures. Thermal conductivity of gypsum is considered as the most influential parameter in conduction of heat through gypsum, and a hybrid numerical-experimental method is presented for extracting thermal conductivity of various gypsum board products at elevated temperatures. This method incorporates a validated one-dimensional Finite Difference heat conduction program and high temperature test results on small samples of gypsum boards. Moreover, high temperature mechanical tests have been performed on different gypsum board products; thermal shrinkage, strength and stress-strain relationships of gypsum products at elevated temperatures are extracted for use in numerical mechanical analysis. To simulate the structural performance of gypsum boards in fire, a two-dimensional Finite Element model has been developed in ABAQUS. This model successfully predicts the complete opening of a through-thickness crack in gypsum, and is validated against medium-scale fire tests designed and conducted as part of this research. Gypsum fall-off in fire is a complex phenomenon; however, it is believed that delaying the formation of through-thickness cracking will delay falling off of gypsum in fire, and hence improve the fire resistance of gypsum board assemblies. Finally, a study has been performed on the effects of various detailing parameters in gypsum board wall assemblies, and recommendations are offered for improving the fire resistance of such systems.
Date of Award31 Dec 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorYong Wang (Supervisor)


  • Cracks and fall-off
  • Extended finite element method
  • Mechanical properties
  • High-temperature tests
  • Porosity
  • Heat conduction
  • Radiation
  • Fire resistance
  • Thermal conductivity
  • Gypsum board
  • Void size

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