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A numerical investigation of the influence of pore pressures and thermally induced stresses for spalling of concrete exposed to elevated temperatures

Lookup NU author(s): Hongbin Zhang, Dr Colin DavieORCiD



Although in past years extensive experimental and numerical investigations have been carried out in order to gain better understanding of the phenomenon of spalling of concrete exposed to elevated temperatures, there still exists controversy as to the driving mechanisms of spalling. This paper presents a numerical investigation aimed at determining the significance of pore pressures and thermally induced stresses for spalling of a concrete. A mathematical model for the coupled hygro-thermal-mechanical-damage behaviour of the concrete is briefly presented together with its finite element solution procedure. Although not intended for design purposes at this stage, the model provides insight into the interactions of the physical process that occur when concrete is exposed to elevated temperatures and can provide impetus for further development of numerical solutions for accurate prediction of spalling. The model is here employed to investigate the significance of pore pressures and thermally induced stresses for spalling of concretes with different initial permeabilities and moisture contents through the numerical simulation of a wall and a square column exposed to fire. The numerical results reveal that thermally induced stresses are a primary factor in causing damage and hence spalling in concrete, while pore pressures, at most, play a secondary role. (c) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Zhang HL, Davie CT

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Fire Safety Journal

Year: 2013

Volume: 59

Pages: 102-110

Print publication date: 16/05/2013

Date deposited: 12/08/2014

ISSN (print): 0379-7112

ISSN (electronic): 1873-7226

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/j.firesaf.2013.03.019


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Funder referenceFunder name
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), UK
EP/E048935/1An Advanced Numerical Tool for the Prediction and Analysis of Spalling in Concrete Structures Exposed to Combined Thermal and Mechanical Loading