Sensitivity Analyses of Structural Steel Connection Fire Performance

May 30, 2010
Publication: Structures Congress 2010, Proceedings Of The 2010 Structures Congress, May 12-15, 2010, Orlando, Florida, ASCE p 1566-1579
Author(s): LaMalva, Kevin J.

Abstract: In standard fire resistance furnace tests, structural specimens are unable to dissipate heat, as they are likely to do in building construction, by interconnection to cooler adjacent structural elements. Also, spray-applied fire resistive material (SFRM) coverage often is imperfect in buildings because it can be removed easily from steel, and poor application, natural deterioration, or other effects may cause localized deficiencies. Hence, standard furnace tests often do not capture the influences of important in situ features. This paper presents results of finite element, thermal-stress analyses that investigate the effects of connection proximity with respect to adjacent columns and the extent of SFRM coverage. More specifically, the performance of a series of model configurations that vary in connection proximity and SFRM coverage were studied under exposure from a typical office fire. These parametric studies demonstrate that minor changes to a connection assembly may have a significant effect on its fire performance. In some cases, relatively simple connection detailing changes can enhance the overall structure's fire resistance, even when SFRM coverage is not perfect.