Fires following earthquake (FFE) have historically produced enormous post-earthquake damage and losses in terms of lives, buildings and economic costs, like the San Francisco earthquake (1906), the Kobe earthquake (1995), the Turkey earthquake (2011), the Tohoku earthquake (2011) and the Christchurch earthquakes (2011). The structural fire performance can worsen significantly because the fire acts on a structure damaged by the seismic event. On these premises, the purpose of this work is the investigation of the experimental and numerical response of structural and non-structural components of steel structures subjected to fire following earthquake (FFE) to increase the knowledge and provide a robust framework for hybrid fire testing and hybrid fire following earthquake testing. A partitioned algorithm to test a real case study with substructuring techniques was developed. The framework is developed in MATLAB and it is also based on the implementation of nonlinear finite elements to model the effects of earthquake forces and post-earthquake effects such as fire and thermal loads on structures. These elements should be able to capture geometrical and mechanical non-linearities to deal with large displacements. Two numerical validation procedures of the partitioned algorithm simulating two virtual hybrid fire testing and one virtual hybrid seismic testing were carried out. Two sets of experimental tests in two different laboratories were performed to provide valuable data for the calibration and comparison of numerical finite element case studies reproducing the conditions used in the tests. Another goal of this thesis is to develop a fire following earthquake numerical framework based on a modified version of the OpenSees software and several scripts developed in MATLAB to perform probabilistic analyses of structures subjected to FFE. A new material class, namely SteelFFEThermal, was implemented to simulate the steel behaviour subjected to FFE events.
Many historical events have shown that, after an earthquake, fire may be triggered by seismic-induced rupture of gas piping, failure of electrical systems, etc. The current engineering design methods still ignores many aspects of multi-hazard and in particular fire following earthquake (FFE) analysis. In this respect, the aim of this paper is to study the behaviour of a braced steel frame subjected to seismic-induced fire. In particular, FFE numerical analyses were conducted on a four-storey three-bay braced steel frame with concentric bracings. The results of the numerical analyses served to design the FFE tests performed on unprotected and protected columns belonging to the bracing system. The fire tests after the seismic event were carried out by considering the effects of the surrounding seismically damaged structure. Results of the FFE tests on unprotected columns are reported along with the numerical model calibration.
The EQUFIRE project aims to study the post-earthquake fire performance of steel frame structures and is part of the Transnational Access activities of the SERA project (www.sera-eu.org) at the ELSA Reaction Wall of the European Commission-Joint Research Centre. As it has happened in many historical occasions, after an earthquake, earthquake-induced rupture of gas piping, failure of electrical systems, etc. may trigger fire. The structural fire performance can deteriorate because the fire acts on a previously damaged structure. In addition, the earthquake may have damaged fire protection elements and the fire can spread more rapidly if compartmentation walls have failed. This is particularly relevant for steel structures as the high thermal conductivity of elements with small thickness entails quick temperature rise with consequent fast loss of strength and stiffness. EQUFIRE studied a four-storey three-bay steel frame with concentric bracings in the central bay. The structure was designed for reference peak ground acceleration equal to 0.186g, soil type B and type 1 elastic response spectrum according to Eurocode 8. Tests were performed at the ELSA Reaction Wall and at the furnace of the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM). The experimental activities at the ELSA Reaction Wall comprise pseudo-dynamic tests on a full-scale specimen of the first storey of the building, while the upper three storeys are numerically simulated. The aim is to study the response of the structure and fire protection elements, including their interaction, under the design earthquake and for different configurations: bare frame without fire protection, specimen with three fire protection solutions (conventional and seismic-resistant boards, and vermiculite sprayed coating) applied on the bracing and one column, and with conventional and seismic-resistant fire barrier walls built in the two external bays of the specimen. The testing programme at BAM included fire tests of five columns (two specimens without fire protection elements and three specimens with the types of fire protection mentioned above). Before the fire test, each column was subjected to a horizontal and vertical displacement history resulting from the seismic action. During the fire tests, the effect of the surrounding structure was simulated by limiting the axial thermal expansion. The experimental results will serve to study the response of structural and non-structural components to fire following earthquake scenarios, with a view to improving existing design guidelines and future standards.