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Journal of Constructional Steel Research 67 (2011) 593–601

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Journal of Constructional Steel Research


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jcsr

Fire resistance of partially encased steel columns with restrained thermal


elongation
António J.P. Moura Correia a,b , João Paulo C. Rodrigues a,∗
a
Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the University of Coimbra, Portugal
b
Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, Portugal

article info abstract


Article history: The behaviour of composite columns made of partially encased steel sections subjected to fire has been
Received 5 September 2010 studied numerically by several researchers. Experimental studies are scarce and there are still many
Accepted 4 December 2010 phenomena to study. The influence of the axial and rotational restraint on the behaviour of these types of
columns subjected to fire is still under research. This paper presents the results of a series of fire resistance
Keywords: tests on these types of columns with restrained thermal elongation. A new experimental set-up, specially
Fire
conceived for fire resistance tests on building columns, was used for the tests. The experimental set-up
Resistance
Composite
was conceived so that the axial and rotational restraint of the columns would be similar to the conditions
Steel in a real building. The parameters studied were the load level, the axial and rotational restraint ratios
Concrete and the slenderness of the column. The main conclusion of this work is that for low load levels the
Columns stiffness of the surrounding structure has a major influence on the behaviour of the column subjected
Restraining to fire. Increasing the stiffness of the surrounding structure led to reductions in the critical times. The
same behaviour was not observed for the high load levels.
© 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction the experimental studies published until now is on hollow steel


columns.
Steel elements, when unprotected, they behave poorly under In 1964 Malhotra and Stevens presented the results of fourteen
fire conditions. The deterioration of the mechanical properties of fire resistance tests on totally encased steel stanchions with
the steel, and its high thermal conductivity lead to very low critical free thermal elongation [1]. These tests were complemented
temperatures, and poor fire resistance. Fire protection materials with ten structural tests on stanchions at room temperature to
can be used to improve the fire resistance of steel elements, determine their ultimate strength. The variables analyzed in the
but they may entail problems such as longer construction times, high temperature tests were the thickness of the encasement, the
higher costs, increasing the structural elements’ cross-section type of aggregate in the concrete, the effect of limited heating
and aesthetic issues. Combining steel with other materials, as in and the load eccentricity. Three types of concrete were used
composite structures, can be a solution. on the stanchions, one of ordinary concrete made with gravel
Composite steel and concrete structures are very popular and two types of lightweight concrete made with expanded clay
nowadays because concrete can be used both as a fire protection and foamed slag. Several stanchions were heated for less time
and as a resistant material. Concrete can be used in partially or than their ultimate fire resistance and their residual strength
totally encased steel sections or to fill hollow steel sections. In the determined. The results showed that the concrete cover has a
case of fire the concrete protects the steel part of the cross-section significant effect on fire resistance, and the lightweight concrete
from excessive heating. The steel, on the other hand, reduces leads to higher fire resistance of the elements than the ordinary
concrete spalling and cracking since the concrete is partially or gravel concrete. It was also found that the load level influences
totally encased in the element’s cross-section. the fire resistance of the stanchions; those tested with higher load
The behaviour of composite columns made of partially encased levels exhibited lower fire resistance. Also, stanchions tested with
steel sections subjected to fire has been numerically investigated eccentric loading had higher fire resistance than those tested with
by several authors, especially in this decade, but even so only a centered loading, due to the fact that the working loads applied
few experimental studies have been published on these types of to the first ones, according to BS 449, were smaller. Finally, the
stanchions tested for limited heating showed that the reduction
columns with restrained thermal elongation. The major part of
of their residual strength is approximately linear with longer fire
exposure.
∗ Corresponding author. Tel.: +351 239797237; fax: +351 239797123. In 1990 Lie and Chabot tested five concrete-filled circular
E-mail address: jpaulocr@dec.uc.pt (J.P.C. Rodrigues). hollow columns and proposed a mathematical model to predict
0143-974X/$ – see front matter © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.jcsr.2010.12.002
594 A.J.P. Moura Correia, J.P.C. Rodrigues / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 67 (2011) 593–601

on the behaviour of the columns subjected to fire, such as the


Notation column section dimensions, the load level, the effective length of
the column, the percentage of steel bar reinforcement, the concrete
λ̄z Relative slenderness of the column related to the strength, the axis distance of the steel reinforcement bars to the
weak axis; inner wall of the steel profile and the type of aggregate used in
µo Load level of the column; the concrete. They concluded that the main parameters influencing
P Force; the fire resistance are the diameter or width of the column, its
P0 Initial applied load or serviceability load of the effective length, the load level and the concrete strength. This study
column; proposed expressions for the calculation of the fire resistance of
αA Non-dimensional axial restraint ratio of the column; circular and square hollow steel sections filled with bar- or fiber-
βR Non-dimensional rotational restraint ratio of the reinforced concrete.
column; The same authors presented another study in 1996 on the
K A ,S Axial stiffness of the surrounding structure; behaviour of fiber-reinforced concrete-filled hollow columns. The
K A ,C Axial stiffness of the column; benefits of this type of concrete on the fire resistance of the
K R ,S Rotational stiffness of the surrounding structure; columns were compared with those of the plain and bar-reinforced
K R ,C Rotational stiffness of the column; concrete [4].
Aa Cross-sectional area of the structural steel; In 2002 Han et al. carried out six compressive strength tests
Ac Cross-sectional area of the concrete; on protected and unprotected concrete-filled rectangular hollow
As Cross-sectional area of the steel reinforcement; columns, after exposure to the ISO 834 fire curve [5]. The
Lc Length of the column; unprotected columns were heated in a fire resistance furnace for
lc ,z Buckling length of the column for the relevant 90 min while the fire protected ones were heated for 180 min.
bending axis; After cooling down the columns were compressed with centered
NRd Design value of the buckling load of the columns at or eccentric loading in order to determine their residual buckling
room temperature; strength. The experimental results were compared with those
Npl,Rk Characteristic value of the plastic resistance of the calculated using various existing codes. The authors proposed a
composite section to compressive normal force mechanical model for the determination of the residual strength of
Ncr ,z Critical force for the relevant buckling mode; columns of this type after exposure to the ISO 834 fire curve. The
(EI )eff Effective flexural stiffness of the column; model is based on the determination of a residual strength index
(EA)eff Effective axial stiffness of the column; that is the ratio between the residual strength corresponding to
I a ,z Moment of inertia of the structural steel section for the fire duration time of the columns and the ultimate strength
the relevant bending axis; of the columns at room temperature. The model takes into
I c ,z Moment of inertia of the un-cracked concrete account changes in the materials’ mechanical properties with the
section for the relevant bending axis; temperature, the fire duration, the cross-sectional dimensions, the
Is,z Moment of inertia of the steel reinforcement section steel ratio, the depth-to-width ratio, the slenderness ratio and the
for the relevant bending axis; load eccentricity ratio. It was found that the loss of strength of
Ea Modulus of elasticity of the structural steel at room the columns without fire protection is greater than that of the fire
temperature; protected ones. The slenderness ratio, cross-sectional dimensions
Ec Effective modulus of elasticity of the concrete at and fire duration have a significant influence, while the steel
room temperature; ratio, the depth-to-width ratio, the load eccentricity ratio and the
Ecm Secant modulus of elasticity of the concrete at room strength of the steel and the concrete have a moderate influence
temperature; on the residual strength index.
Es Modulus of elasticity of the steel reinforcement at In 2003 Wang and Davies published the results of an
room temperature; experimental study on the fire performance of non-sway loaded
fayk Characteristic value of the yield strength of the concrete-filled steel hollow column assemblies using extended end
structural steel at room temperature; plate connections [6]. The objective of the study was to investigate
fck Characteristic value of the compressive strength of the effects of the rotational restraint on the bending moments and
the concrete at room temperature; effective lengths of the columns. Rectangular steel columns filled
fsyk Characteristic value of the yield strength of the steel with concrete and connected to a pair of steel beams at one end
reinforcement at room temperature. by means of extended end plate connections were tested under
fire conditions. The columns were subjected to different axial load
levels with either equal or unequal loads in the connected beams.
the temperature distribution within the cross-section and the The columns with thinner steel walls suffered local buckling. The
structural response to fire [2]. The heat transfer analysis was same was not observed in those with thicker walls, leading to the
based on a division of the circular section into annular elements conclusion that their effective length can be determined according
while the gas temperature around the section was considered to the design recommendations of EN1994-1-2 [7]. In this case the
uniform. The effect of moisture in the concrete was taken effective length of the column can be taken as 0.7 times its height.
into account by assuming that when the temperature of an Following on from the previous study, Han et al., published
element within the cross-section reaches 100 °C or more, all another study in 2003 on the behaviour of a concrete-filled steel
the heating of that element drives out moisture until it is dry. square hollow section (SHS) and rectangular hollow section (RHS)
This mathematical model was later adapted for concrete-filled columns subjected to fire [8]. The columns were tested with and
rectangular hollow columns and fiber-reinforced concrete-filled without fire protection and subjected to axial and eccentric loads.
circular hollow columns. The influence of several parameters on the residual strength index
In 1996 Lie and Kodur published a numerical study on the was studied:fire duration, sectional dimensions, slenderness ratio,
behaviour of hollow columns filled with bar-reinforced concrete load eccentricity ratio and strength of the steel and concrete. The
whose results were compared with those from experimental main conclusions were that the SHS and RHS columns behaved in
tests [3]. They investigated the influence of several parameters a relatively ductile manner in fire due to the infill of concrete and
A.J.P. Moura Correia, J.P.C. Rodrigues / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 67 (2011) 593–601 595

the fire protection thickness for these columns can be reduced of


that for bare steel columns.
In 2006 Han et al. presented a new series of compression and
bending tests carried out on concrete-filled steel hollow columns
after exposure to the ISO 834 standard fire [9]. The main purpose
of this work was to assess the post-fire behaviour of columns and
beams. A mechanical model, previously developed by the authors
that can predict the load–deformation behaviour of concrete-filled
hollow stub columns after exposure to the ISO 834 fire was used
to predict the test results. They concluded that the concrete-filled
steel SHS and RHS stub columns behave in a ductile manner
in fire due to the ‘‘composite action’’ of the steel tube and the
concrete core. The authors’ previously developed mathematical
model showed good agreement with test results.
In 2007, Huang et al. published a study on the effects of axial
restraint on the behaviour of composite columns made of encased
steel I-section subjected to fire [10]. Different degrees of axial
restraint were applied to the column to simulate its thermal
restraint when inserted in a building structure. The columns were
tested in an electrical fire resistance furnace and were subjected
to an applied load level of 0.7 of the design value of the buckling
load at room temperature. A specific heating curve with two
ascending phases was adopted. They concluded that the axial
restraint reduces the column fire resistance since it increases the
internal axial forces. All columns failed in flexural buckling mode.
Fig. 1. Test set-up.
Also, it was observed that during heating all columns suffered
concrete spalling, which was responsible for a great reduction of values for the stiffness of the surrounding structure. The tested
their fire resistance. A comparison of the test results with those values of the axial stiffness were 13, 45 and 128 kN/mm.
obtained with the methods proposed in EN1994-1-2 [7] showed The values of stiffness of surrounding structure were chosen
that the latter are too conservative. to simulate real structures. The lower value of 13 kN/mm
Some of the above studies considered the effect of the axial means practically absence of thermal restraint. The stiffness of
restraint independently of the rotational restraint on the behaviour 128 kN/mm, that was the higher value possible to test in the
of the columns subjected to fire. The behaviour of the columns experimental set-up, tried to simulate a common two-storey
varies differently as a function of one or the other, but in a building of 3 x 4 bays of 6 m span. The stiffness of 45 kN/mm tried
real structure these two types of restraint act together. The axial to simulate a one-storey building of 3 × 4 bays of 6 m span.
restraint is known to be detrimental while the rotational restraint The columns were subjected to a constant compressive load
is beneficial to the fire resistance of columns. Inspired by this that was intended to simulate the serviceability load of the column
fact, in the University of Coimbra, Portugal, was developed a in a real building structure. This load was 70% or 30% of the
new experimental set-up to test building columns with restrained design value of the buckling load at room temperature, calculated
thermal elongation. This experimental system allows varying according to EN1994-1-1 [11].
degrees of axial and rotational stiffness and load levels to be This load was applied by a 3MN capacity hydraulic jack (2) and
applied to the columns being tested. was continuously measured by a 1MN load cell (3) placed between
the upper beam of the restraining frame and the hydraulic jack
(see also Fig. 2(a)). The hydraulic jack was controlled by a servo-
2. Experimental program controlled W + B NSPA700/DIG2000 hydraulic unit.
The hydraulic jack was placed in a reaction frame (4) comprising
2.1. Test set-up two HEB500 columns and an HEB600 beam, grade S355 steel
profiles, fitted with M24 grade 8.8 bolts. The reaction frame also
Fig. 1 shows the test set-up, which was specially conceived and has a safety system (5) to guard against sudden collapse of the
constructed in the Laboratory of Testing Materials and Structures specimen.
of the University of Coimbra for fire resistance tests on building The thermal action was applied by a modular electric furnace
columns with restrained thermal elongation. (6) that could run fire curves nearly to the standard ISO 834 fire
curve.
The system comprised a restraining steel frame of variable
This furnace is composed of two modules 1 m tall and one
stiffness (1) with the function of simulating the stiffness of the
module 0.5 m tall, placed on top of one another to form a chamber
structure surrounding the column subjected to fire. The use of a
around the column measuring about 1.5 m × 1.5 m × 2.5 m.
three-dimensional (3D) restraining frame allowed both the axial
A special device was built to measure the restraining forces
and the rotational stiffness to be taken into account, as observed in generated in the testing columns during the heating process,
a real structure. resulting from the restraint to thermal elongation (7). This device
The 3D restraining frame was composed of four columns, plus is detailed in Fig. 2(b). It consists of a hollow stiff cylinder,
two upper beams and two lower beams, placed orthogonally. rigidly connected to the upper beam of the restraining frame, and
The beams of this frame were HEB300 grade S355 steel profiles. containing a compression 3MN load cell. A massive stiff cylinder
These structural elements were connected with four grade 8.8 M24 that was rigidly connected at the head of the test column was
bolts apart from the connections between the columns and upper inserted into the hollow one; it compressed the load cell due to
beams where M27 grade 8.8 threaded rods, were used. Different the thermal elongation of the column during the test. The massive
placements of the holes in the flanges of the beams allowed the cylinder was Teflon lined to prevent any friction between the
columns to be assembled with different spans to give different cylinders.
596 A.J.P. Moura Correia, J.P.C. Rodrigues / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 67 (2011) 593–601

Fig. 2. (a) Load application system. (b) Device for measuring the restraining forces.

Fig. 3. Measuring system of the column’s displacements (a) bottom (b) top and (c) lateral.

Displacements of the column were measured with linear


variable displacement transducers (LVDT). The axial and rotational
displacements on the ends of the test columns were measured by at
least three LVDT (8) orthogonally arranged to form a deformation
plane (see also Fig. 3(a) and (b)). The lateral displacements of
the column were measured by cable displacement transducers (9)
placed in two orthogonal directions, at 0.81, 1.81 and 2.49 m, in the
vertical direction of the column (see also Fig. 3(c)). Furthermore,
another LVDT (10) was placed in the centre of the 3D restraining
frame, near to where the load is to be applied, to confirm the axial
displacements of the test columns (see also Fig. 2(a)). Fig. 4. Cross-sections of the test columns.
The strain in various points of the restraining frame was
measured by TML FLA-6-11 strain gauges placed on the columns calcareous aggregate concrete, strength class C25/30. Four φ 16
and beams. steel bars were used as longitudinal reinforcement in the CSS160
Prior to starting the test the nuts of the threaded rods (11) cross-sections and four φ 20 steel bars were used in the CSS200
connecting the columns and the upper beams of the 3D restraining cross-sections. The transversal reinforcement was achieved with
frame were released in order to transfer the entire load applied φ 6 stirrups in the CSS160 cross-sections and φ 8 stirrups in the
by the hydraulic jack to the test column. The load was applied
CSS200 cross-sections, placed at intervals of 0.15 m. The stirrups
gradually and when the value of the testing load was reached
were welded to the web of the steel profiles (Fig. 4).
the nuts were tightened to provide the necessary restraint to the
Type K thermocouples were placed in several points of the
column when tested.
cross-section to measure the temperature (Fig. 5). For example in
All the experimental data were recorded in a data acquisition
system composed of a TML TDS 530 datalogger and two additional cross-section S1, thermocouple T1 was embedded in the concrete
TML switching boxes, one an SSW-50D model and the other an near the surface, T2 was also embedded in the concrete midway
IHW-50G model. between the surface and the steel profile’s web, T3 was welded
to the web, T4 was welded to one of the longitudinal steel
2.2. Test columns reinforcement bars, T5 was welded to the inner part of the
flange and T26 was welded to the outer part of the flange. This
The composite steel sections (CSS) were made of HEA160 distribution of thermocouples was repeated in the other cross-
(CSS160) and HEA200 (CSS200) grade 355 steel profiles, and sections of the column.
A.J.P. Moura Correia, J.P.C. Rodrigues / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 67 (2011) 593–601 597

the vertical displacement of the central point of the 3D restraining


frame, thereby allowing the determination of its stiffness. Several
loading and unloading cycles were performed.
In the fire resistance tests the axial restraining forces could be
plotted as a function of the displacement of the column and the
central point of the 3D restraining frame, thereby allowing also the
determination of its stiffness.
The load level µo is defined by the ratio of the initial applied
load and the design value of the buckling load of the columns at
room temperature.
P0
µo = . (1)
NRd
The relative slenderness λ̄z around the minor axis is given by:

Npl,Rk
λ̄z = (2)
Ncr
where Npl,Rk is the characteristic value of the plastic resistance to
compression
Npl,Rk = Aa .fayk + 0.85Ac .fck + As .fsyk (3)
and Ncr ,z is the critical force for the relevant buckling mode

π 2 .(EI )eff
Ncr ,z = (4)
l2c ,z
calculated with the effective flexural stiffness (EI )eff determined in
accordance with the following formula:
Fig. 5. Position of thermocouples in the cross-sections of the test columns.
(EI )eff = Ea .Ia,z + Es .Is,z + 0.6.Ecm Ic ,z . (5)
The test columns were fitted with a steel plate at either end so The axial restraint ratio αA is defined by a relation between the
that they could be connected to the testing system. The steel end axial stiffness of the surrounding structure and the elastic axial
plates measured 450 mm × 450 mm × 30 mm and were made of stiffness of the column:
grade S355 steel. K A ,S
αA = (6)
K A ,C
2.3. Experimental tests
where
Table 1 summarizes the fire resistance tests carried out on (EA)eff
K A ,C = (7)
partially concrete-encased steel columns. Lc
The first column indicates the specimen reference. For example, in which (EA)eff is the effective axial stiffness of the composite
in reference CSS160-K128-L0.3, CSS160 indicates that the cross- column cross-section
section is made with an HEA160 steel profile, tested for stiffness
(EA)eff = Ea .Aa + Es .As + Ec Ac . (8)
(K ) of the surrounding structure of 128 kN/mm and a load level (L)
of 30%. The axial restraint ratio αA is defined by a relation between the
The axial stiffness of the surrounding structure KA,S is found axial stiffness of the surrounding structure and the elastic axial
experimentally by a special test carried out at room temperature stiffness of the column:
for that purpose, and from the fire resistance tests on composite K R ,S
columns.
βR = (9)
K R ,C
For the test carried out at room temperature, the testing column
where
was replaced by a hydraulic jack that applied a compressive force
that fastened the top and bottom cross-beams of the restraining 4.(EI )eff .
K R ,C = . (10)
frame to one another. This force was registered as a function of Lc

Table 1
Experimental tests.

Test number Steel profile P0 (kN) µo λ̄z KA,S (kN/mm) KA,C (kN/mm) αA KR,S (kN m) KR,C (kN m) βR
CSS160-K128-L0.3 HEA 160 261 0.3 1.09 128 531 0.242 7844 3218 2.437
CSS160-K128-L0.7 HEA 160 610 0.7 1.09 128 531 0.242 7844 3218 2.437
CSS200-K128-L0.3 HEA 200 508 0.3 0.87 128 789 0.163 7844 7488 1.048
CSS200-K128-L0.7 HEA 200 1185 0.7 0.87 128 789 0.163 7844 7488 1.048
CSS160-K45-L0.3 HEA 160 261 0.3 1.09 45 531 0.085 5622 3218 1.747
CSS160-K45-L0.7 HEA 160 610 0.7 1.09 45 531 0.085 5622 3218 1.747
CSS200-K45-L0.3 HEA 200 508 0.3 0.87 45 789 0.057 5622 7488 0.751
CSS200-K45-L0.7 HEA 200 1185 0.7 0.87 45 789 0.057 5622 7488 0.751
CSS160-K13-L0.3 HEA 160 261 0.3 1.09 13 531 0.025 4828 3218 1.500
CSS160-K13-L0.7 HEA 160 610 0.7 1.09 13 531 0.025 4828 3218 1.500
CSS200-K13-L0.3 HEA 200 508 0.3 0.87 13 789 0.017 4828 7488 0.645
CSS200-K13-L0.7 HEA 200 1185 0.7 0.87 13 789 0.017 4828 7488 0.645
598 A.J.P. Moura Correia, J.P.C. Rodrigues / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 67 (2011) 593–601

Fig. 6. Evolution of temperatures in cross-section S3 of column CSS160-K13-L0.3


and furnace.

Fig. 8. Lateral deflections around minor axis of columns CSS160-K128-L0.3 and


CSS200-K128-L0.3.

Fig. 9. Axial displacements, k = 128 kN/mm.


Fig. 7. Evolution of mean temperatures in the vertical direction of column CSS160-
K13-L0.3. for different instants of time during the test. The mean steel tem-
perature in each cross-section is the integral of the temperatures
The rotational stiffness of the structure KR,S , was determined registered in the thermocouples welded to the steel profile. The
numerically using the finite element program ABAQUS, with the temperature in the flanges was considered uniform and in the web
whole experimental system discretized. it was taken to be a linear variation from the centre to the flanges.
When analyzing this graph it should be remembered that the
3. Test results first 0.25 m from the bottom and top of the column were not
directly exposed to the heating of the furnace because these parts
3.1. Temperature distribution are inside the furnace cover zones. A large thermal gradient was
observed between these zones and the central part of the column.
In order to eliminate the thermal inertia of the furnace it was This phenomenon may have a minor influence on the column
pre-heated before the beginning of each test. Thus, instead of 20 °C, behaviour at high temperatures since its central part, where the
the temperature of the furnace starts at about 120 °C, which leads efforts are higher, was at uniform temperature.
to a heating curve much closer to the ISO 834 fire curve. The The maximum temperature of the steel profile was reached
evolution of temperature in the furnace and in section S3 of column at 2.0 m high, a little above the midpoint of the column, which
CSS160-K13-L30 is represented in Fig. 6. There is an acceptable indicates that the highest heat of the furnace was a little above its
agreement between the heating curve of the furnace and the ISO mid-height.
834 fire curve. The thermocouples seem to show good results: T11 ,
which was near the concrete surface, measured the gas furnace
temperature, approximately, throughout the test; T28 and T15 , 3.2. Lateral deflections
which were welded to the flange, recorded similar temperatures;
T12 , which was midway between the concrete surface and the web, Fig. 8 presents the lateral deflections around the minor axis of
recorded a temperature higher than T13 and lower than T11 , and columns CSS160-K128-L0.3 and CSS200-K128-L0.3. At first sight
T14 , which was welded to the steel bar, recorded the least marked the fact that column CSS160, which has a relative slenderness
temperature evolution. of 1.09, suffers lower lateral deflections than column CSS200,
A large thermal gradient is observed from the surface to the whose relative slenderness of 0.87 may seem abnormal. This may
interior of the concrete (thermocouples T11 , T12 and T13 ). The be explained by the higher figure for non-dimensional rotational
temperature difference between thermocouples T13 and T15 was stiffness of column CSS160, which is 2.437, compared with that for
also very high, showing the large thermal gradient between the column CSS200, which is 1.048.
flanges and the web.
It is quite interesting to observe that from the first 30 min of 3.3. Axial displacements
test, the difference between the gas furnace temperature and the
mean steel temperature remains practically constant at 400 °C. Figs. 9–11 show the axial displacement of the columns as a
Fig. 7 shows the evolution of the mean temperatures of the function of time, for the different test carried out. The shape of the
steel profile in the vertical direction of column CSS160-K13-L0.3, curves of the axial displacement for the two cross-sections for each
A.J.P. Moura Correia, J.P.C. Rodrigues / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 67 (2011) 593–601 599

Fig. 10. Axial displacements, k = 45 kN/mm. Fig. 12. Restraining forces, k = 128 kN/mm.

Fig. 11. Axial displacements, k = 13 kN/mm. Fig. 13. Restraining forces, k = 45 kN/mm.

load level and stiffness of the surrounding structure tested were


quite similar, but there was some change in the values of the test
duration between the two cross-sections.
In Fig. 9, for stiffness 128 kN/mm, the difference in the axial
displacements for the two load levels was around 1.1 mm for the
CSS200 columns and 0.7 mm for the CSS160 columns.
In Fig. 10, for stiffness 45 kN/mm, the difference in the axial
displacements for the two load levels was greater than in the
previous example. Increasing the load level led to a reduction in the
axial displacement of 3.5 mm for the CSS200 columns and 1.8 mm
for the CSS160 columns.
For stiffness 13 kN/mm, increasing the load level led to
reductions in the axial displacements of 4 mm for the CSS200 Fig. 14. Restraining forces, k = 13 kN/mm.
columns and 2 mm for the CSS160 columns.
In Figs. 9–11, it can be observed that in general the greater stiff- of 128 kN/mm. The higher load level led to a reduction in critical
ness of the surrounding structure led to smaller axial displace- time of about 5 min, and a reduction in the maximum axial
ments of the specimens. The columns with smaller slenderness restraining forces of about 55%, for the CSS160 columns. For the
ratios exhibited greater difference in the axial displacements CSS200 columns, the higher load level provoked a reduction in the
between the two load levels, for the different stiffness of the sur- critical time of about 2 min and a reduction in the maximum axial
rounding structure. restraining forces of about 45%.
The fact that increasing the load level led to a lower reduction Fig. 13 contains the graph of the axial restraining forces in the
in the axial displacements of the CSS160 columns may be unusual. columns for a stiffness of surrounding structure of 45 kN/mm.
It was expected that the CSS160 columns would suffer a greater For the CSS160 test columns the increased load level provoked a
reduction in the axial displacement than the CSS200 columns. This reduction in the critical time of about 8 min and a reduction in
could be because the non-dimensional axial restraint ratio is higher the maximum axial restraining forces of 69%. For the CSS200 test
for the CSS160 columns than for the CSS200 columns. columns the higher load level led to a reduction of 23 min in the
critical time and a 67% reduction in the maximum axial restraining
3.4. Restraining forces forces.
In Fig. 14, the same analysis is made for columns tested with
The evolution of the axial restraining forces over time for a stiffness of surrounding structure of 13 kN/mm. For the CSS160
the varying stiffness of the surrounding structure is depicted in test columns the increased load level provoked a reduction in the
Figs. 12–14. Typical behaviour observed in the columns tested is:a critical time of about 36 min and a reduction in the maximum axial
gentle increase of the restraining forces followed by a quite sudden restraining forces of 57%. For the CSS200 test columns the same
decay. In these graphs the critical time is defined as the instant increase in load level led to a reduction of 51 min in the critical
when the axial forces reach again the value of the initial applied time and a 60% reduction in the maximum axial restraining forces.
forces, i.e. P /P0 = 1. In Figs. 12–14 it can be seen that the higher the load level the
Fig. 12 shows the axial restraining forces of test columns for the shorter the critical time. For the same load level higher slenderness
two load levels tested, and for stiffness of surrounding structure ratios also led to lower critical times.
600 A.J.P. Moura Correia, J.P.C. Rodrigues / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 67 (2011) 593–601

(a) CSS160. (b) CSS200.

Fig. 15. Critical times as a function of the non-dimensional axial and rotational restraint ratios of CSS160 and CSS200 columns.

Fig. 16. Deformed shape of test columns after test.

The reduction of the maximum restraining forces with the of 70% there was no reduction when the non-dimensional axial
increasing of the load level was similar for the two cross-sections restraint ratio increased from 0.02 to 0.16 and the non-dimensional
tested for each stiffness of the surrounding structure. rotational restraint ratio increased from 0.65 to 1.05.
Lower stiffness of the surrounding structure led to a greater
difference in the critical times between the two load levels tested, 3.6. Columns after test
for each cross-section.
Fig. 16 shows the deformed shape of some test columns after
3.5. Critical times the fire resistance tests. In these columns, regardless the load level,
type of cross-section, and stiffness of surrounding structure, only
As stated before, the critical time is defined as the instant at global buckling was observed. The absence of local buckling can be
which the axial forces developed in the column during the fire explained by the partial encasement of the columns with concrete.
This concrete is beneficial as it not only provides thermal insulation
resistance test reach again the value of the initial applied forces.
but also prevents local buckling of the flanges.
The concept of critical temperature, defined by several authors for
steel columns, cannot be applicable in this case, since a quite non-
4. Conclusions
uniform temperature distribution is observed within the cross-
section due to the different materials composing the section.
This paper presents the results of fire resistance tests on
Fig. 15 shows, for both types of cross-section and load level
composite columns, made of partially encased steel sections, with
of 30%, that there is a great reduction in the critical time of
restrained thermal elongation. The main conclusion is that having
the columns, with an increase in the non-dimensional axial and concrete between flanges increases the fire resistance of the
rotational restraint ratios. The same is not observed for the higher columns in comparison with bare steel columns. The concrete
load level of 70%, in either cross-section type, where the critical encasement is also important for preventing local buckling of the
times remain practically unchanged, with an increase of the non- flanges.
dimensional axial and rotational restraint ratios. The results presented can be used to calibrate a finite element
In the CSS160 columns (Fig. 15(a)), for the 30% load level, there model to carry out a parametric study, varying the parameters
was a reduction in the critical time of about 35 min, while for the involved in the behaviour of these columns, such as the relative
load level of 70% the reduction was only 4 min, when the non- slenderness of the column, the load level and the stiffness of the
dimensional axial restraint ratio increased from 0.03 to 0.24 and surrounding structure.
the non-dimensional rotational restraint ratio increased from 1.50 It was also interesting to note that all the columns failed by
to 2.44. flexural buckling, and that some stirrups detached from the web by
In the CSS160 columns (Fig. 15(b)), for the 30% load level, the the end of the tests. One recommendation that can be made at this
reduction in the critical time was 50 min, while for the load level stage is that instead of welding the stirrups to the web of the steel
A.J.P. Moura Correia, J.P.C. Rodrigues / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 67 (2011) 593–601 601

profile, as it was done here, holes should have been made in the and for the Ph.D. scholarship SFRH/BD/21939/2005 given to the
web for the stirrups to pass through and surround the whole cross- first author. The authors are also grateful to the steel structures
section. This construction technique should enhance the behaviour builders METALOCARDOSO S. A. and A. COSTA CABRAL S. A.,
of the column subjected to fire. Portugal for their support.
The results of this experimental research lead to the following
conclusions about the effect of the tested parameters on the References
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