Travelling fire experiments in steel-framed structure: numerical investigations with CFD and FEM

Marion Charlier, Antoine Glorieux, Olivier Vassart, Xu Dai, Stephen Welch, Johan Anderson, Ali Nadjai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The purpose of this paper is to propose a simplified representation of the fire load in CFD to represent the effect of large-scale travelling fire, and to highlight the relevance of such an approach while coupling the CFD results with FEM to evaluate related steel temperatures, comparing the numerical outcomes with experimental measurements.

This paper presents the setup of the CFD simulations (FDS software) and its corresponding assumptions, and the calibration of two natural fire tests while focusing on gas temperatures and on steel temperatures measured on a central column. For the latter, two methods are presented: one based on EN1993-1-2 and other linking CFD and FEM (SAFIR® software).

This paper suggests that such an approach can allow for both an acceptable representation of the travelling fire in terms of fire spread and steel temperatures. On the other hand, there are therefore inevitable limitations inherent to the simplifications made, these are also discussed. Regarding steel temperatures, the two methods lead to quite similar results, but with the ones obtained via CFD-FEM coupling closer to the ones measured.

This work has revealed that the proposed simplified representation of the fire load appears to be appropriate to evaluate the temperature of steel structural elements within reasonable limits on computational time, making it potentially desirable for practical applications. This paper also presents the first comparisons of FDS-SAFIR® coupling with experimental results, highlighting promising outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Structural Fire Engineering
Early online date21 May 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 May 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Travelling fire
  • Steel structure
  • CFD
  • FEM


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  • Emerald Literati Awards 2022

    Charlier, Marion (Recipient), Glorieux, Antoine (Recipient), Dai, Xu (Recipient), Alam, Naveed (Recipient), Welch, Stephen (Recipient), Anderson, Johan (Recipient), Vassart, Olivier (Recipient) & Nadjai, Ali (Recipient), 31 Aug 2022

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

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