Comparative analysis of fire test standards applicable to building materials

Whitehead, Marisse Anchen (2022-04)

Thesis (MEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2022.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Research in fire behaviour started centuries ago following large-scale urban fires. The focus moved to establish material and construction rules during the past 150 years of fire engineering development. These rules eventually turned into standards and design codes of practice, and globally a plethora of standards and codes with the same objectives are now available. Unfortunately, although current standards and codes might have the same objectives, differences in test methodologies significantly influence the results and the results' applicability. This thesis aims to provide a detailed comparison of fire testing standards to provide a safe testing environment for South Africa and other developing world countries. Available codes are reviewed and compared to provide a list of test standards used where material safety in a building is of concern. Reaction-to-fire and fire resistance tests are specifically compared and contrasted. Aspects such as the nature of samples tested, sample orientation, heat sources and properties measured are considered. It is shown that to obtain a fire-safe building, a variety of material properties must be controlled, such as heat release rates, smoke emissions, structural resistance, flame spread rate, calorific values and critical heat flux. A single test cannot address all these properties, and hence a suite of test standards is required. Ultimately, the author’s opinion is that adopting the Eurocode classification and associated test standards would be beneficial and pragmatic based on the analysis conducted below. However, from a scientific and engineering perspective, there are still shortcomings in the Eurocode guidelines, which are discussed, and recommendations for addressing these are provided. Recommendations include adopting the Cone Calorimeter instead of current identified European tests. It is shown that the South African suite of standards should be thoroughly revised, and there are severe limitations to the current suite of standards.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Navorsing oor brandgedrag het eeue gelede reeds weens grootskaalse stedelike brande ontstaan. In die afgelope 150 jaar het die fokus geskuif na die vasstel van materiaal- en konstruksiereëls in die ingenieursontwikkeling van brande. Dié reëls het mettertyd standaarde en ontwerpkodes in die praktyk geword. Daar is tans wêreldwyd ‘n menigte standaarde en kodes met dieselfde doel beskikbaar. Hoewel dié huidige standaarde en kodes dieselfde doel dien, het die verskille in toetsmetodologieë ‘n beduidende invloed op die resultate en gevolglik ook die toepassing daarvan. Hierdie tesis het ten doel om ‘n gedetailleerde vergelyking tussen brandtoetsstandaarde daar te stel sodat ‘n veilige toetsomgewing vir Suid-Afrika en ander ontwikkelende lande verskaf kan word.Beskikbare kodes word bestudeer en met mekaar vergelyk om ‘n lys van toetsstandaarde te verskaf wat gebruik is in geboue waar die veiligheid van materiale van belang is. Reaksie-op-brand en brandweerstandtoetse word spesifiek vergelyk en teenoor mekaar gestel. Aspekte soos die aard van getoetste monsters, monster-oriëntasie, hittebronne en getoetste eienskappe is in berekening gebring. Dit toon dat ‘n verskeidenheid materiaal-eienskappe beheer moet word om te verseker dat ‘n gebou brandveilig is, onder meer die koers van hittevrylating, rook-uitlatings, strukturele weerstand, die koers van vlamverspreiding, kaloriese waardes en kritieke hittevloei. ‘n Enkele toets is nie voldoende vir al die eienskappe nie; ‘n reeks toetskodes is nodig. Die skrywer is gevolglik van mening dat, gegrond op die analises hieronder, die Eurokode-klassifikasie en geassosieerde toetsstandaarde die voordeligste en mees pragmatiese sal wees. Uit ‘n wetenskaplike en ingenieursperspektief is daar egter steeds tekortkominge in die Eurokode-riglyne. Dié aspekte word hier bespreek en aanbevelings word gemaak om die probleme te ondervang. Van die aanbevelings sluit in die gebruik van die ‘cone calorimeter’ pleks van sommige Europese toetse. Dit toon dat die huidige kodereeks ernstige beperkings het en die Suid-Afrikaanse reeks van standaarde deeglik hersien moet word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/124619
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