Fire Performance of Cold-formed Steel Wall Panels and Prediction of their Fire Resistance Rating
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Recent research at the Queensland University of Technology has investigated the structural and thermal behaviour of load bearing Light gauge Steel Frame (LSF) wall systems made of 1.15 mm G500 steel studs and varying plasterboard and insulation configurations (cavity and external insulation) using full scale fire tests. Suitable finite element models of LSF walls were then developed and validated by comparing with test results. In this study, the validated finite element models of LSF wall panels subject to standard fire conditions were used in a detailed parametric study to investigate the effects of important parameters such as steel grade and thickness, plasterboard screw spacing, plasterboard lateral restraint, insulation materials and load ratio on their performance under standard fire conditions. Suitable equations were proposed to predict the time-temperature profiles of LSF wall studs with eight different plasterboard-insulation configurations, and used in the finite element analyses. Finite element parametric studies produced extensive fire performance data for the LSF wall panels in the form of load ratio versus time and critical hot flange (failure) temperature curves for eight wall configurations. This data demonstrated the superior fire performance of externally insulated LSF wall panels made of different steel grades and thicknesses. It also led to the development of a set of equations to predict the important relationship between the load ratio and the critical hot flange temperature of LSF wall studs. Finally this paper proposes a simplified method to predict the fire resistance rating of LSF walls based on the two proposed set of equations for the load ratio-hot flange temperature and the time-temperature relationships.
Fire Safety Journal
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