Structural engineering and fire dynamics: Advances at the interface and Buchanan's challenge

Angus Law*, Jamie Stern-Gottfried, Martin Gillie, Guillermo Rein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 2008, Buchanan identified a necessary prerequisite for the advancement of structural fire engineering. He stated that "fire engineers and structural engineers need to talk to each other". In an attempt to address this need, the following paper provides a historical context of structural fire engineering and presents the results of research conducted when fire engineers and structural fire engineers do, indeed, talk to one another and work together on the same problem. The fire engineering approach is that developed by SternGottfried and Rein using travelling fires to capture realistic fire dynamics in a large compartment, and the structural fire approach by Law and Gillie on the whole frame behaviour of a concrete building. These techniques are not the only approaches, nor are they the ultimate product of Buchanan's challenge. However, they show how a rational approach to both fire engineering and structural engineering can provide design tools that would be meaningless or impossible otherwise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1563-1576
Number of pages14
JournalFire Safety Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011


  • Finite element analysis
  • Reinforced concrete
  • Structural utilization
  • Travelling fires

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