Experimental Investigation of Post-fire Mechanical Properties of Cold-formed Steels
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Cold-formed steel members are widely used in residential, industrial and commercial buildings as primary load-bearing elements. During fire events, they will be exposed to elevated temperatures. If the general appearance of the structure is satisfactory after a fire event then the question that has to be answered is how the load bearing capacity of cold-formed steel members in these buildings has been affected. Hence after such fire events there is a need to evaluate the residual strength of these members. However, the post-fire behaviour of cold-formed steel members has not been investigated in the past. This means conservative decisions are likely to be made in relation to fire exposed cold-formed steel buildings. Therefore an experimental study was undertaken to investigate the post-fire mechanical properties of cold-formed steels. Tensile coupons taken from cold-formed steel sheets of three different steel grades and thicknesses were exposed to different elevated temperatures up to 800 oC, and were then allowed to cool down to ambient temperature before they were tested to failure. Tensile coupon tests were conducted to obtain their post-fire stress-strain curves and associated mechanical properties (yield stress, Young's modulus, ultimate strength and ductility). It was found that the post-fire mechanical properties of cold-formed steels are reduced below the original ambient temperature mechanical properties if they had been exposed to temperatures exceeding 300 oC. Hence a new set of equations is proposed to predict the post-fire mechanical properties of cold-formed steels. Such post-fire mechanical property assessments allow structural and fire engineers to make an accurate prediction of the safety of fire exposed cold-formed steel buildings. This paper presents the details of this experimental study and the results of post-fire mechanical properties of cold-formed steels. It also includes the results of a post-fire evaluation of cold-formed steel walls.
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