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Engineering Structures 31 (2009) 150157

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Engineering Structures
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Fire design of timber slabs made of hollow core elements


Andrea Frangi , Markus Knobloch, Mario Fontana
ETH Zurich, Institute of Structural Engineering, 8093 Zurich, Switzerland

article

info

a b s t r a c t
The fire design of timber structures usually take into account both the loss in cross-section due to charring of wood and the temperature-dependent reduction of strength and stiffness of the uncharred residual cross-section. The fire behaviour of timber assemblies made of hollow core elements is characterised by different charring phases. After the fire exposed timber layer is completely charred and the charlayer has fallen off, the thin vertical timber members are exposed to fire on 3 sides, leading to very irregular residual cross-sections with charring depths much greater than for heavy timber structures. Based on an extensive experimental and parametric study, a simplified calculation model for the fire resistance of timber slabs made of hollow core elements has been developed. The calculation model bases on the reduced cross-section method and takes into account two different charring phases. The paper first describes and discusses the simplified calculation model, and then compares the test results to the calculation model. 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Article history: Received 15 January 2008 Received in revised form 26 June 2008 Accepted 5 August 2008 Available online 10 September 2008 Keywords: Timber Charring model Charring rate Timber slabs made of hollow core elements Fire tests ISO-fire exposure

1. Introduction Prefabricated timber assemblies made of hollow core elements are often used for slabs in residential and commercial buildings. Besides the advantage of element prefabrication and a high structural performance, the thermal and acoustic insulation of the timber assemblies can be significantly improved by insulating batts in the cavities and sound absorbers placed behind the perforated acoustic layer. Timber is a combustible material and thus differs from most other common structural building materials. When sufficient heat is applied to wood, a process of thermal degradation (pyrolysis) takes place producing combustible gases, accompanied by a loss in mass. A charred layer is then formed on the fire-exposed surfaces and the char layer grows in thickness as the fire progresses, reducing the cross-sectional dimensions of the timber member. The char layer is a good isolator and protects the remaining unburned residual cross-section against heat. Because of the small size of the timber members of the hollow core elements, the fire action can lead to very irregular residual cross-sections with charring depths much greater than for heavy timber structures. For the calculation of the fire resistance it is therefore of primary importance to know the development of the charring depth during the fire exposure. A comprehensive research project on the fire behaviour of timber slabs made of hollow core elements has been recently

Fig. 1. Typical timber slab made of hollow core elements.

Corresponding author. Tel.: +41 44 633 2640; fax: +41 44 633 1093. E-mail address: frangi@ibk.baug.ethz.ch (A. Frangi).

performed at ETH Zurich [1,2]. The research project was aimed at enlarging the experimental background of timber slabs in fire and permitting the development of a simplified calculation model for the fire resistance of timber slabs made of hollow core elements. In addition to a large number of small-scale fire tests, the fire behaviour of the timber slabs was experimentally analysed with 3 large-scale fire tests on loaded timber slabs (see Table 1). All fire tests were based on ISO-fire exposure and performed at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (EMPA) in Dubendorf. The test specimens were manufactured by the Swiss firm Lignatur, Waldstatt. Lignatur elements consist of hollow core elements made of spruce (picea abies) with a mean density of 450 kg/m3 . The strength properties of the timber elements correspond to the strength class C24 according to EN 338 [3]. Fig. 1 shows a typical cross-section of Lignatur timber assemblies made of hollow core elements. The vertical members have a thickness of 33 mm. The paper describes the simplified calculation model for the fire resistance of timber slabs made of hollow core elements. Particular attention is given to the analysis of different strategies used in

0141-0296/$ see front matter 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.engstruct.2008.08.002

A. Frangi et al. / Engineering Structures 31 (2009) 150157 Table 1 Overview of fire tests performed with timber assemblies made of hollow core assemblies Objective Fire behaviour of joints Influence of cavity insulation Influence of acoustic perforations Test specimen EI60 EI60-31 EI60-40 EI30-AL EI60-AL EI60-Silence REI30 REI60 REI90 Furnace size (m) 0.8 1.0 0.8 1.0 0.8 1.0 0.8 1.0 0.8 1.0 0.8 1.0 3.0 4.85 3.0 4.85 3.0 4.85

151

Fire exposure (min) 70 60 60 30 60 60 40 70 105

Fire resistance of loaded timber slabs

Fig. 2. Charring depth dchar,0 for one-dimensional charring and notional charring depth dchar,n [5]. Fig. 3. Definition of residual cross-section and effective cross-section [5].

order to improve the fire behaviour of the timber slabs in fire. The paper first describes and discusses the simplified calculation model, and then compares the test results to the calculation model. 2. Charring of timber In order to calculate the resistance of structural timber members exposed to fire, the loss in cross-section due to charring as well as the reduction in strength and stiffness near the charred layer due to elevated temperature have to be considered. For timber surfaces unprotected throughout the time of fire exposure, the residual cross-section can be calculated by assuming a charring rate constant with time [4]. As a basic value, the one-dimensional charring rate 0 is usually taken as the value observed for onedimensional heat transfer under ISO-fire exposure in a semiinfinite timber slab. EN 1995-1-2 [5] gives a value of 0 = 0.65 mm/min for softwood confirmed by several experimental studies [68]. In order to take into account the effects of corner rounding and fissures and to simplify the calculation of crosssectional properties (area, section modulus and second moment of area) by assuming an equivalent rectangular residual cross-section, design codes generally define charring rates greater than the onedimensional charring rate. The charring rate including these effects is called the notional charring rate n according to EN 1995-1-2 and for solid softwood a value of n = 0.8 mm/min can be assumed. Fig. 2 shows the definition of charring depth dchar,0 for one-dimensional charring and notional charring depth dchar,n . The temperature-dependent reduction in strength and stiffness near the charred layer can be considered in different ways. EN 1995-1-2, for example, gives two alternative simplified methods: the Reduced cross-section method and the Reduced properties method [4]. The Reduced cross-section method considers the strength and stiffness reduction near the charred layer by adding an additional depth k. 0 d0 to the charred layer dchar,n (see Fig. 3). This method permits the designer to use strength and stiffness properties for normal temperature for the resulting effective crosssection. Thus the temperature-dependent reduction factor is taken as kmod,fi = 1.0 for the effective cross section. The Reduced properties method takes into account the influence of the temperature reducing the timber stiffness

and strength properties of the residual cross-section by a temperature-dependent reduction factor kmod,fi . The reduction of the timber strength and stiffness properties were derived using test results [9], which do not well reflect the physical behaviour of timber in fire [4]. Further this method was developed for structural members (beams, columns) exposed to fire on three or four sides [10] and should not be used for slabs exposed to fire only on one side [4]. 3. Simplified calculation model 3.1. Fire behaviour of timber slabs made of hollow core elements The fire tests performed with timber assemblies made of hollow core assemblies showed that the fire behaviour is mainly characterised by two different charring phases, before and after the timber layer directly exposed to fire is completely charred. Before the fire-exposed timber layer is completely charred, the timber assembly is exposed to fire only on one side and a more or less homogenous regular one-dimensional charring similar to that of a heavy timber slab was observed during fire tests on timber assemblies performed within the framework of the research project (see Fig. 4). After the fire-exposed timber layer is completely charred and the char-layer begins falling off, the thin vertical timber members are exposed to fire on three sides, leading to very irregular residual cross-sections with charring depths much greater than for heavy timber structures where the char-layer performs as an effective protection of the remaining unburned residual cross-section (see Fig. 5). From a fire design point of view it is therefore desirable that the vertical timber members are not exposed to fire on three sides. This can be achieved in two different ways:

the design of the fire-exposed timber layer has to avoid a fire


penetration into the cavities for the whole duration of the fire exposure. The timber slabs REI60 and REI90 were designed according to this criterion (see Fig. 4).

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Fig. 4. Residual cross-section of the timber slab REI60 after 70 min ISO-fire exposure; the fire-exposed timber layer was so designed that a fire penetration into the cavities was prevented.

Fig. 5. Residual cross-section of the timber slab REI30 after 40 min ISO-fire exposure; the thin vertical timber members have been exposed to fire on three sides, leading to very irregular residual cross-sections.

Fig. 6. Temperature profiles measured on the side of a vertical member of the timber slab EI60-31 (see Fig. 7 for the position of the thermocouples T05, T15, T25, T35 as well as T06, T16, T26, T36).

the cavities are filled with insulation material. After the failure
of the fire-exposed timber layer, charring occurs mainly on the narrow side of the vertical members, while the wide sides are more or less protected by the insulation. Two small-scale fire tests (EI60-31 and EI60-40, see Table 1) analysed the behaviour of the hollow core elements filled with two different common insulation materials: rock fibre batts with melt point 1000 C and density of about 32 kg/m3 and glass fibre batts with melt point 600 C and density of about 18 kg/m3 . Fig. 6 shows the temperature profiles measured on the side of a vertical member of the timber slab EI60-31 as a function of time (see Fig. 7 for the position of the thermocouples). In Fig. 7 the height of the timber slab is measured from the fire unexposed side. Fig. 8 shows the residual cross-section of the timber slab EI60-31 after 60 min ISO-fire exposure. From Figs. 6 and 8 it can be seen that rock fibre batts were able to protect the wide sides of the vertical members from charring, so that one-dimensional charring can be assumed. On the other hand, cavity insulation made of glass fibre batts melted when exposed directly to high temperatures, being incapable of protecting the wide sides of the vertical members. It is important to remark that the fire protective function of the cavities filled with insulation with melt point 1000 C can be taken into account only if the

cavity insulation remains in place after failure of the fire exposed timber layer. 3.2. Calculation model for timber slabs made of hollow core elements The proposed simplified calculation model is based on the reduced cross-section method according to EN 1995-1-2 and takes into account the two different charring phases as shown in Fig. 9 and generally discussed in the previous paragraph. For simplicity, linear relationships between charring depth and time are assumed for each phase. Further it is assumed that the vertical timber members are not exposed to fire on three sides during the required fire resistance. Thus the fire-exposed timber layer is so designed that a fire penetration into the cavities is prevented or the cavities are filled with insulation material with melt point 1000 C that remains in place after the charred fire-exposed timber layer has fallen off. The first phase is defined as the time period, during which the charring depth has not yet reached the thickness of the fireexposed timber layer (dchar,n hu ). The notional charring rate 1,n describes the one-dimensional charring of the timber slab during the first phase and takes into account the influence of joints and insulation material (see Section 4.1). The time t1 , when the charring

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Fig. 7. Position of the thermocouples T05, T15, T25, T35 as well as T06, T16, T26, T36 used to measure the temperature on the side of a vertical member of the timber slab EI60-31 as given in Fig. 6.

Fig. 8. Residual cross-section of the timber slab EI60-31 after 60 min ISO-fire exposure with hollow core elements filled with different insulation materials.

Fig. 9. Charring model for the calculation of the residual cross-section of the hollow core elements.

depth has reached the thickness of the fire-exposed timber layer (dchar,n = hu ) can be calculated as follows: t1 = hu

Table 2 Values of the notional charring rate 1,n and 2,n as well as the factor d0 for the different charring phases Charring phase First charring phase: dchar,n hu Second charring phase: dchar,n > hu Notional charring rate n (mm/min) Factor d0 (mm) 7 20

1,n

(1)

1,n = 0.8 2,n = 1.6

The second phase is characterised by the charring of the vertical timber members after the charring depth has reached the thickness of the fire-exposed timber layer (dchar,n hu ). The notional charring rate 2,n during this phase is mainly influenced by the thickness of the vertical members. Because of the small thickness of the vertical members of only 33 mm in the case of the Lignatur hollow core elements, a superposition of the heat flux from the sides and below occurs and an increased charring has to be considered in comparison to one-dimensional charring (see Section 4.2). For a required time treq of fire resistance, the notional charring depth for the vertical members of the hollow core elements can be calculated as follows: dchar,n = 1,n treq for 0 treq t1 for treq t1 . (2) (3)

dchar,n = hu + 2,n treq t1

The effective cross-section is calculated by reducing the initial cross-section by the effective charring depth def , which is calculated as follows: def = dchar,n + k0 d0 .
.

(4)

The additional depth k0 d0 takes into account the temperaturedependent reduction of strength and stiffness in the heat affected zones of the residual cross-section, permitting the designer to use the strength and stiffness properties for normal temperature for the effective cross-section. The temperature-dependent reduction factor is therefore taken as kmod,fi = 1.0 for the effective cross

section. The factor k0 linearly increases from 0 to 1 with time during the first 20 min of fire exposure, as it takes normally about 20 min to get stabilized temperature profiles in the heat affected zones of the residual cross-section [4]. Values of n and d0 for the first and second charring phase are given in Table 2 and discussed in detail in the following section. The values n,1 and d0 for the first charring phase have directly been determined from the fire tests performed. The notional charring rate n,2 for the second charring phase was estimated by comparing the results of the fire tests with the simplified calculation model and confirmed by fire tests performed in the frame of a different research project. The fire tests performed did not permit the determination of the value d0 for the second charring phase. Thus this parameter has been determined by comparing the simplified calculation model with an advanced calculation model. It is important to remark that the values 2,n and d0 for the second charring phase have been evaluated for hollow core elements with 33 mm thick vertical members and a fire resistance up to 60 min. For thicker vertical members the values are conservative. Further the minimal thickness of the fireexposed layer should be hu = 40 mm for a fire resistance of 60 min. This restriction is necessary to respect the range for which the charring of the vertical members was validated with fire tests.

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Table 3 Measured average charring rates in mm/min for the large-scale fire tests on timber slabs as well as the small-scale fire tests; details of the joints can be seen in Fig. 10 Position of measurement Hollow core elements without insulation Small-scale test EI60 Fire-exposed lower layer Vertical member Joint type A Joint type B Joint type C No joint 0.60 0.70 0.77 0.70 Test on slab REI60 0.68 0.80 0.76 0.76 Test on slab REI90 0.73 0.79 0.70 0.77 With insulation Small-scale test EI60-31 0.82 0.81 Small-scale test EI60-40 0.81 0.80

4. Discussion of the parameters of the calculation model 4.1. First charring phase The fire tests showed that during the first phase the timber assembly is exposed to fire only on one side and a more or less homogenous regular one-dimensional charring similar to that of a heavy timber slab can be assumed (see Figs. 4 and 10). Table 3 shows measured average charring rates of the fire tests performed. Details of the fire tests are described in [1,2]. For the hollow core elements without insulation the charring rate measured at the fire-exposed lower layer varied between 0.60 and 0.73 mm/min. At the vertical members, because of the influence of the joints, the measured charring rate was higher and varied between 0.70 and 0.80 mm/min. Details of the joints tested as well as the residual cross-section of test specimen EI60 after 70 min fire exposure can be seen in Fig. 10. For the hollow core elements filled with insulation material the charring rate measured at the fire-exposed lower layer as well as at the vertical members was higher than for the elements without insulation. The measured charring rate varied between 0.80 and 0.82 mm/min. A possible reason is that the insulating batts in the cavities significantly improve the thermal performance, but they also cause the fire-exposed layer to heat more rapidly, possibly increasing the charring rate [11]. The fire tests showed that for the calculation of the charring depth during the first phase a notional charring depth 1,n = 0.8 mm/min can be assumed giving mostly safe design results. The notional charring rate 1,n takes into account the influence of the insulation material in the cavities as well as the influence of the joints. For simplicity, a value d0 = 7 mm is assumed for the calculation of the effective cross-section during the first charring phase. The values 1,n = 0.8 mm/min and d0 = 7 mm correspond to the values given in EN 1995-1-2 for the calculation of the effective cross-section based on the reduced cross-section for solid timber members exposed to fire on three or four sides. The values n,1 and d0 have been confirmed by the fire tests performed on loaded timber slabs (see Section 5). 4.2. Second charring phase Extensive research has been recently conducted on the fire behaviour of light timber frame assemblies permitting the development of a design model which takes into account different charring stages due to the protection provided by fire protective claddings [1214]. The design model has been included in EN 19951-2, Annex C. The assemblies considered consisted of solid timber members (joists or studs), claddings of gypsum plasterboards, and cavity insulation made of rock or glass fibre. In a series of fire tests without cladding on the fire-exposed side, the fire behaviour of the timber members with rock fibre insulation was studied. The fire tests showed that rock fibre insulation was capable of protecting the wide sides of the timber members from fire, however due to two-dimensional heat flux in the insulation material close to the timber members, increased charring occurred in comparison to

Table 4 Cross-section factor ks for different member thicknesses according to [14] Member thickness (mm) Cross-section factor ks 33 1.5 38 1.4 4548 1.3 60 1.1 90 1.0

one-dimensional charring. This confirms the test results performed within the framework of this research project. In order to take into account this effect and convert the irregular residual crosssection caused by corner rounding into a notional rectangular cross-section, a cross-section factor ks as well as a conversion factor kn were derived from the fire tests. Values of ks for different member thicknesses are given in Table 4. It can be seen that for wide members where the heat flux is mainly one-dimensional ks is 1.0. The conversion factor kn is a function of area, section modulus and moment of inertia. For simplicity these three values can be replaced conservatively by a single value of 1.5. Starting from the one-dimensional charring 0 the notional charring rate n can be finally calculated as following:

n = kn ks 0 .

(5)

Thus for timber members with a thickness of 33 mm a charring rate of about 1.5 mm/min can be calculated according to Eq. (5) (n = 1.5 1.5 0.65 1.5 mm/min, where 0 = 0.65 mm/min according to EN 1995-1-2 for softwood). There is a good agreement between this value and the notional charring rate 2,n = 1.6 mm/min assumed for the calculation of the charring depth of the vertical members of the hollow core elements during the second phase. Although the insulation material is able to protect the wide sides of the vertical members, the fire tests showed that because of the small size of the vertical members the temperatures measured in the vertical members are higher than those in heavy timber cross-sections. Therefore, the influence of the temperaturedependent reduction in strength and stiffness in the heat affected zones of the vertical members during the second charring phase is expected to be higher than for the first charring phase. The simplified calculation model based on the reduced cross-section method considers this effect by assuming the factor d0 . As the fire tests performed did not permit the determination of the value d0 for the second charring phase, an advanced calculation model as shown in Fig. 11 has been used. The cross-section of the timber assembly is divided into finite elements with different stiffness and strength properties as a function of the average temperature i (t ) measured in the fire tests. Unfortunately temperature-dependent properties of wood reported in the literature exhibit a large scatter and are partially in contradiction to each other [1419]. The main reason is that the test results are highly influenced by differences in the test methods used to collect those data [14]. EN 1995-1-2 gives temperature-dependent timber properties for FE-calculations. Therefore the reduction values are related to tensile and compressive strength and stiffness (see Fig. 12). Bending strength is a derived quantity that is used in the simplified calculation model. The temperature-dependent reduction values

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Fig. 10. Different joints of the hollow core elements tested under ISO-fire exposure; fig. top shows the test specimen EI60 before the fire test; fig. bottom shows the test specimen EI60 after 70 min fire exposure.

Fig. 11. Calculation model: (a) cross-section composed of different layers, (b) temperature gradient of the cross-section, (c) resulting strains res .

given in EN 1995-1-2 were derived from many results of largescale fire tests on loaded timber frame members in bending [13] and were considered as appropriate to model the structural behaviour of the timber assemblies made of hollow core elements in fire. As the fire-exposed side of the timber slabs are mostly subjected to tension, the stiffness reduction in tension given in EN 1995-1-2 was assumed in the advanced calculation model for the modulus of elasticity. Temperatures, material properties, strains and stresses are assumed in the centre of gravity of each element and are constant with regard to thickness of the element. Further it is assumed that Bernoullis hypothesis of plane sections is valid also in fire. The resulting time-dependent strains res,i (t ) can be calculated taking into account the strain of the upper layer 0 (t ) and the curvature (t ) of the cross-section as follows:

res,i (t ) = 0 (t ) + (t ) zi .

(6)

The effect of thermal expansion of timber can lead to residual thermal stresses. However the residual thermal stresses are small in comparison to the stresses due to external mechanical loads and therefore can be neglected in the calculation of the fire resistance of structural timber members [20]. Under the assumption of a linear elastic material behaviour and neglecting the influence of thermal expansion the resulting time-dependent stresses res,i (t ) can be calculated as follows:

Fig. 12. Temperature dependent reduction factor for local values of strength and modulus of elasticity (MOE) in tension and compression according to EN 1995-1-2 to be used for FE-calculations.

res,i (t ) = Ei (i ) [0 (t ) + (t ) zi ] .

(7)

The strain of the upper layer 0 (t ) and the curvature (t ) of the cross-section can be found from static equilibrium requiring that the internal bending moment M and the internal axial force N are in equilibrium with the external mechanical loads. For

a simply supported member which is subjected only to external bending moment M (external axial force N = 0) the conditions of equilibrium can be written as follows:
n

N (t ) =
i=1

res,i (t ) Ai = 0

(8)

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Fig. 13. Comparison of the fire resistance after 60 min fire exposure as a function of the height of the cross-section according to the advanced calculation model and the simplified calculation model assuming different values of d0 .
n

Fig. 14. Comparison between measured and calculated charring depths according the simplified calculation method.

5. Comparison to fire tests M (t ) =


i=1

res,i (t ) Ai zi = M .

(9)

The solutions of the above equation system are:

0 (t ) = (t ) =

EAi

EAi zi M EAi zi2 EAi M EAi zi


2

(10)

EAi

EAi zi2

EAi zi

(11)

The bending resistance MR of the cross-section can finally be calculated using following failure criteria:

res,i (MR ) = fd,fi,i

(12)

where fd,fi,i is the strength taking into account the strength reduction due to the influence of the temperature according to Fig. 12. The advanced calculation model was used in order to calculate the bending resistance of timber slabs made of hollow core elements with different heights varying between 150 and 300 mm subjected to 60 min ISO-fire. For the calculation it was assumed that the fire-exposed timber layer has a thickness of 40 mm. Fig. 13 compares the results of the advanced calculation model to the simplified calculation model based on the reduced cross-section method. In the figure, the ratio MR,simplified /MR,advanced as a function of different assumptions for the factor d0 is given. It can be seen that under the assumption of a factor of d0 = 7 mm used for the first charring phase the simplified calculation model leads to bending resistances which are 20 up to 40% higher than in comparison to the advanced model. Thus the simplified calculation model leads in this case to unsafe results. The main reason is that because of the small size, the vertical members are more affected by the heat in comparison to heavy timber sections. On the other hand under the assumption of a factor of d0 = 20 mm a good agreement between the advanced and the simplified calculation model is observed. Thus it is proposed to use d0 = 20 mm for the simplified calculation model.

The charring behaviour of the hollow core elements was analysed with small-scale fire tests conducted with unloaded specimens. A series of fire tests looked at the influence of different insulation materials and type of joints (see Figs. 8 and 10). Another series of small-scale fire tests studied the influence of acoustic perforations on the charring behaviour of the hollow core elements. Details of all fire tests are summarised in [1,2]. Fig. 14 compares the measured charring depths with the charring depths calculated according to the simplified calculation model. For the calculation of the charring depth the values given in Table 2 were used. There is a good agreement between the simplified calculation model and the results of the fire tests. The average ratio dchar,model /dchar,test is 1.08. The global structural behaviour of the timber slabs made of hollow core elements was analysed with fire tests on loaded slabs performed in EMPAs horizontal furnace (3.0 4.85 m). The timber slabs were made of 0.2 m high hollow elements of spruce with a mean density of 450 kg/m3 and moisture content of 10% 2%. Two different slabs with three different joints between the timber elements were designed for a fire resistance of 60 and 90 min. The slabs called in the following REI60 and REI90 were designed so that a fire penetration into the cavities was prevented. The fire-exposed timber layer had a thickness of 64 mm for the slab REI60 and 97 mm for the slab REI90. The load level during the fire tests was set in such a way that the maximum bending moment corresponded to that in a slab of about 7.10 m span, with a permanent load of 1.5 kN/m2 and a reduced accompanying live load of 1.5 kN/m2 . In the fire tests the temperatures in selected locations, the vertical deflections and the horizontal deformations were measured. Details of the fire tests on loaded slabs are described in [1]. The fire tests showed a fire resistance of more than 60 min and 90 min respectively. No relevant smoke or flame penetration was observed through the three different joints between the timber elements during the fire tests. For security reasons the tests were not conducted until failure of the slab. As a failure criterion, a rate of deflection of about 1.0 cm/min as specified in the testing protocol [21] was used for estimating the fire resistance of the slab. The fire test on the slab REI60 was stopped after 70 min. After the test, the slab was loaded until failure which occurred under

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timber assembly is exposed to fire only on one side and a more or less homogenous regular one-dimensional charring similar to that of a heavy timber slab can be assumed. For the calculation of the effective cross-section a notional charring rate of 0.8 mm/min and a factor d0 = 7 mm can be assumed giving safe results. After the fire-exposed timber layer is completely charred and has fallen off (i.e. during the second charring phase), an increased charring rate of the vertical members of the hollow core elements has to be considered due to two-dimensional heat flux. For the hollow core elements tested with a thickness of the vertical members of 33 mm a notional charring rate of 1.6 mm/min can be assumed as confirmed by the results of fire tests. Because of the small size of the vertical members, the temperatures measured in the vertical members are higher than in comparison to heavy timber crosssections. For this reason during the second charring phase the factor d0 , which takes into account the temperature-dependent reduction in strength and stiffness in the heat affected zones of the vertical members, has to be increased to 20 mm. Additional experimental investigations are planned in order to confirm this value, calculated using an advanced calculation model.
Fig. 15. Measured deflections during the large-scale fire tests on the slabs REI60 and REI90. Table 5 Comparison between test results and simplified calculation model Fire test Slab REI60 Slab REI90 ttest (min) 70 105 tR,test (min) 77 107 tR,model (min) 85 109 tR,model /tR,test () 1.10 1.02

References
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1.08 times the load applied during the fire test. For this slab a fire resistance of 77 min was estimated based on the increase of the deformations measured during the fire test (see Fig. 15). The fire test on the slab REI90 was stopped after 105 min. For this slab a fire resistance of 107 min was estimated based on the increase of the deformations measured during the fire test (see Fig. 15). The fire resistance of the slabs was calculated using the simplified calculation model based on the reduced cross-section method as described in Section 3.2. For the calculation of the fire resistance the values given in Table 2 were used. It can be seen that the simplified calculation model was able to predict the fire resistance quite well (see Table 5). 6. Conclusions The fire resistance of timber slabs made of hollow core elements can be calculated with the simplified calculation model presented in this paper. The calculation model based on the reduced crosssection method according to EN 1995-1-2 takes into account two different charring phases, before and after the fire-exposed layer is completely charred. For simplicity linear relationships between charring depth and time are assumed for each phase. Further it is assumed that the vertical timber members are not exposed to fire on three sides. This can be achieved in two different ways: the design of the fire-exposed timber layer prevents a fire penetration into the cavities, or the cavities are filled with insulation material with melt point 1000 C. It is important to remark that the insulation must remain in place after failure of the fire-exposed timber layer in order to protect the wide sides of the vertical members of the hollow core elements from charring. The fire tests showed that before the fire-exposed timber layer is completely charred (i.e. during the first charring phase) the