Designing buildings to be fire-resistant

Earlier this year, 100 persons had to be rescued from a commercial complex on busy Prahladnagar Road as a fire broke out on multiple floors.

Over 1,300 more buildings have come up without fire NOC

AHMEDABAD: Designing a building to have all the better amenities is one of the primary tasks before construction. In July, a woman and her son lost their lives and seven sustained injuries after a major blaze in their residential complex. 

Earlier this year, 100 persons had to be rescued from a commercial complex on busy Prahladnagar Road as a fire broke out on multiple floors. 

While building codes and civic permissions check the basics, better intervention can be designed if it could be predicted how fire would spread in a specific structure.

Patnayakuni Ravi Prakash, who received his PhD degree from IIT-Gandhinagar (IIT-Gn) recently, studied this problem for his doctoral research titled ‘Fully Coupled Multi-Physics Nonlinear Analysis of Reinforced Concrete and Steel Structural Systems Subjected to Fire’ and devised a computational model to understand the impact of fire on different parts of a given building in hypothetical scenario.

Ravi Prakash said that the structural analysis for fire safety has three primary approaches – empirical methods suggested by building codes, full-scale fire tests, and scenario-based structural fire analysis framework. The first method is prescriptive in nature and the second is not practical. Thus, the focus was on the third approach where physical phenomenon as consequences of factors such as heat transfer, vapour transfer and mechanical deformations were taken into consideration.

How does the model work? Ravi Prakash and his doctoral guide, Prof Gaurav Srivastava from Department of Civil Engineering at IIT-Gn, said that the computer model is fed with building plan along with factors such as building material after which simulations are run to understand how the structure would behave under different fire scenarios.

Prof Srivastava said that the model can give an indicative simulation on how fire will spread, how it will impact the built structure and what could be collapse mechanism.

The researchers said that any fire safety design must incorporate factors such as possible large deformations, realistic fire scenarios, and temperature-dependent material properties.

Source: ET Realty