Advanced Steel Construction

Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 589-602 (2010)




Hong Liang, Stephen Welch* and José L. Torero

BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering, University of Edinburgh,

King's Buildings, Edinburgh, EH9 3JL, United Kingdom

*(Corresponding author: E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Received: 25 February 2008; Revised: 6 March 2009; Accepted: 11 March 2009




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A novel CFD-based methodology for thermal analysis of protected steelwork in fire has been developed to overcome the limitations of existing methodologies. This is a generalised quasi-3D approach with computation of a "steel temperature field" parameter in each computational cell. It accommodates both uncertainties in the input parameters and possible variants to the specification by means of many simultaneous thermal calculations. A framework for the inclusion of temperature/time-dependent thermal properties, including the effects of moisture and intumescence, has been established. The method has been implemented as the GeniSTELA submodel within SOFIE RANS CFD code. The model is validated with respect to the BRE large compartment fire tests. Sensitivity studies reveal the expected strong dependencies on certain properties of thermal protection materials. The computational requirements are addressed to confirm the practicability of the tool in simultaneously running a large number of parametric variants. Ultimately, the steel temperature field prediction provided by GeniSTELA provides far more flexibility in assessing the thermal response of structures to fire than has been available hitherto; hence it could be further used for the structural response analysis, demonstrating the potential practical use of the method to improve the efficiency and safety of the relevant structural fire safety design.



CFD; thermal analysis; quasi-3D; GeniSTELA; SOFIE


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