A new quantitative method of assessing fire damage to concrete structures

A. Y. Nassif, E. Burley, S. Rigden

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This paper describes a laboratory investigation into the adoption of the stiffness damage test to assess fire-damaged concrete structures. Laboratory-prepared concrete cores (75 mm diameter, 175 mm long) were fired under different heating regimes and their uniaxial compression stress-strain response at low stress level was determined. The area of hysteresis of the load-unload loops and other characteristics of the response such as the degree of concavity, the loading chord modulus, the unloading modulus and the residual plastic strain provide a quantitative measure of the extent of structural damage caused by thermal exposure. Fire-damaged specimens were also monitored by measuring the ultrasonic pulse velocity. The microstructure of the damaged specimens was studied using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray diffraction. 320°C marked the onset of significant modification in the characteristics of the stress-strain response loops, with a sudden increase in the damage index (area of hysteresis loops). The ultrasonic pulse velocity in the fired concrete showed similar variation with temperature to that of the elastic properties. At temperatures higher than 320°C, SEM photographs showed significant cracks in the cement paste, especially in the interfacial zone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-278
Number of pages8
Journal Magazine of Concrete Research
Issue number172
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1995


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