Fire-resistant cladding steel beams

Building regulations prescribe two basic principles for the realisation of a fire-proof building:
            1. The users of the building must be able to escape safely in the event of a fire.
            2. The fire must remain controllable.
It is therefore important that the building does not collapse; the "main load-bearing structure" must retain its strength sufficiently long in the event of a fire.

Steel is an attractive construction material for load-bearing structures. Steel is flexible, slender and quick to assemble. The melting point of steel is approximately 1700°C. A temperature that is never reached during a fire. It is well known, however, that steel loses strength when heated, and the mechanical properties of steel are significantly reduced when heated. When heated up to 400°C, the effective yield strength of structural steel is reduced to 60% of its original value. The former European standard assumes that steel retains its full bearing strength up to 400°C.

It is understandable that a load-bearing steel construction exposed to heat will at a certain point no longer be able to bear the load and will therefore collapse. The temperature at which this occurs is called the critical steel temperature. This temperature is higher with lower loads. The application of the profile - column or beam – also affects the critical steel temperature. In practice, the critical steel temperature for fully load-bearing columns and beams  is 530°C and 575°C respectively. In a fire test, the cladding must remain fixed to the load-bearing beam at this temperature. In order to keep the steel intact for a sufficient time during a fire, it is necessary to apply fire-resistant insulation. The function of the fire-resistant insulation is to prevent the steel from heating up too quickly. Apart from the fact that the insulation must insulate, it must also not fall off during the fire. Special constructions have been devised for this purpose.

It is therefore very important to protect your steel load-bearing structure and to have it cladded with fire-resistant material.



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