The term high-performance concrete (HPC) is typically used to describe concrete mixes with high workability, strength, and/or durability. While HPC outperforms normal strength concrete in nearly all performance criteria, it also displays a higher propensity for heat-induced concrete spalling when exposed to severe heating or fire. Such spalling presents a serious concern in the context of the historical approach to fire safe design of concrete structures, where structural engineers typically rely on concrete’s inherent fire safety characteristics (e.g. non-combustibility, non-flammability, high thermal inertia). It has been widely shown that the inclusion of polypropylene (PP) fibres in concrete mixes reduces the propensity for heat-induced concrete spalling, although considerable disagreement exists around the mechanisms behind the fibres’ effectiveness. This paper presents an experimental study on the effects of PP fibre type and dose on the propensity for heat-induced spalling of concrete. A novel testing method and apparatus, the Heat-Transfer Rate Inducing System (H-TRIS) is used to test medium-scale concrete specimens under simulated standard fire exposures. Results show (1) that although the dose of PP fibres (mass of PP per m3 of fresh concrete) is currently the sole parameter prescribed by available design guidelines, both the PP fibre cross-section and individual fibre length may have considerable influences on the effectiveness of PP fibres at reducing the propensity for heat-induced concrete spalling; and (2) that current guidance for spalling mitigation with PP fibres is insufficient to prevent spalling for the HPC mixes tested.
- Heat-induced concrete spalling
- high-performance concrete
- polypropylene fibres
- fire testing