Slab panel vertical support and tensile membrane action in fire

  • Abu, Anthony K. (Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, University of Sheffield) ;
  • Burgess, Ian W. (Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, University of Sheffield) ;
  • Plank, Roger J. (School of Architectural Studies, University of Sheffield)
  • Received : 2007.11.06
  • Accepted : 2008.06.03
  • Published : 2008.06.25


The increasing use of performance-based approaches in structural fire engineering design of multi-storey composite buildings has prompted the development of various tools to help quantify the influence of tensile membrane action in composite slabs at elevated temperatures. One simplified method which has emerged is the Bailey-BRE membrane action method. This method predicts slab capacities in fire by analysing rectangular slab panels supported on edges which resist vertical deflection. The task of providing the necessary vertical support, in practice, requires protecting a panel's perimeter beams to achieve temperatures of no more than $620^{\circ}C$ at the required fire resistance time. Hence, the integrity of this support becomes critical as the slab and the attached beams deflect, and large deflections of the perimeter beams may lead to a catastrophic failure of the structure. This paper presents a finite element investigation into the effects of vertical support along slab panel boundaries on the slab behaviour in fire. It examines the development of the membrane mechanism for various degrees of edge-beam protection, and makes comparisons with predictions of the membrane action design method and various acceptance criteria.


tensile membrane action;slab panels;fire;concrete;enhancement factors;Bailey-BRE method;TSLAB


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