Timber Structure Fire Test

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Our Timber research was recently published in a conference paper presented at ASFE. The paper that describes our team’s work before 2016 can be downloaded here.

Since that above paper, and last year, our research team have undertaken four new and novel Timber based projects to expand knowledge in this research area as we relocate to York University.

Two of these projects were undertaken the past month collaborating with the University of Waterloo (Beth Weckman’s team). These two projects include a series of burn tests of timber beams, and one of a large timber structure. These large scale tests compliment our teams greater project on how real timber performs in real fires.

We are going through the results of the recent test series of the large scale timber structure at the moment that our team collaborated on. There has been a lot of intrigue from the fire research community as to what we have been studying given more recent building code proposals in Canada. So I figured I would share this recent test to as far as we can at this stage. Stay tuned as we are still going through the results!

WB2Our more interesting project occurred in Southern Ontario where we were involved in the testing of a large scale timber structure under a real fire burn (structure with dimensions of 16mx 19m). This test was similar in manner to the St Lawrence Burns project where real buildings were tested to burn out and even collapse. What we opted to do was consider the performance of a single column protected under the gypsum board protection scheme found in contemporary engineered construction -ie test the timber column with 3+ layers of gypsum attached; our secondary objective being was to understand the dynamics of fire spread with exposed timber construction in large compartments. Structurally, we attached multiple layers of (UL fire rated) gypsum board on an isolated timber column in the structure (about 300x300mm), and assessed its performance during and after the fire – both visually and by instrumentation. As much as we could in the time that we had – there was only a day to instrument and conduct to the test. The results are currently being studied by both teams and we expect to share these early next year.

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Sequenced photos of timber burn tests being conducted by members of our team. Our team is currently assessing various engineered timbers and modelling capabilities at various scales. These projects will be discussed at a later date. 

The building experiment was part of a series of other experiments being performed on the structure by various fie services, material manufacturers, insurers etc. It was organized by the North Perth Fire Department, so quite significant amounts of data will be shown in the coming months.

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Raw dimensions of the structure – only scale and fire origin shown. Full surveying was undertaken by the students and collaborators the morning of the burn. 

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Inside the structure during testing

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