Performance criteria for the fire safe use of thermal insulation in buildings

Hidalgo, Juan P., Welch, Stephen and Torero, Jose L. (2015) Performance criteria for the fire safe use of thermal insulation in buildings. Construction and Building Materials, 100 285-297. doi:10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2015.10.014

Author Hidalgo, Juan P.
Welch, Stephen
Torero, Jose L.
Title Performance criteria for the fire safe use of thermal insulation in buildings
Journal name Construction and Building Materials   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0950-0618
Publication date 2015-12-15
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2015.10.014
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 100
Start page 285
End page 297
Total pages 13
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Subject 2205 Civil and Structural Engineering
2215 Building and Construction
2500 Materials Science
Abstract Building design can be considered as a multi-objective optimisation problem, in which many criteria are considered for determining the most favourable solution. The application of optimisation techniques requires the design criteria to be quantifiable, which sets the baseline for the application of performance-based designs. Sustainability has become the main driver in the built environment during recent decades, with energy efficiency becoming the foremost design criteria and appropriately quantified. By contrast, the approach taken for fire safety is much simplistic, relying on a series of prescriptions based on material classification and “pass–fail” criteria defined in standard fire tests. This results in deficiencies in identification of fire hazards and undermines any attempt at design optimisation. A redefinition of the failure criteria framework based on fundamental understanding of the material behaviour, including the heat transfer controlled processes governing the onset of pyrolysis, can provide a performance-based methodology for the fire safe use of insulation materials in buildings. The different hazards from insulation materials in fire are identified and a set of criteria are defined to identify likely failure modes. A series of highly instrumented large-scale experiments of a construction system involving a common combustible material are referenced to demonstrate the proposed methodology.
Keyword Insulation materials
Fire safety
Performance-based design
Energy performance
Standard tests
Onset of pyrolysis
Thermal barrier
Heat transfer
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Civil Engineering Publications
Official 2016 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 9 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 12 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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