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What are the fire-resistant properties of steel structure workshops?

fire-resistant properties of steel structure workshops

The fire-resistant properties of steel structure workshops are mainly related to the speed of heat absorption and the time for the strength of the steel component to weaken. The fire resistance of steel structures can be improved by a variety of measures. Among these, the most important one is to delay the temperature rise of the steel structure and increase the time for it to reach the critical point where its load-bearing capacity will be lost. This way, the workshop will not collapse when the fire breaks out.

The first requirement for the fire-resistant properties of steel structure workshop buildings is that they must be able to withstand high temperatures without damage or loss of structural stability. The deterioration of the steel structural member due to high temperatures can be controlled by using effective fire compartments and by providing external protection for the steel components.

However, since the inherent fire resistance of structural steel is generally lower than that required for the whole building, a wide range of fire protection measures are needed. These include rated fire-resistant boards, concrete-filled hollow structural section shapes and concrete-encased, wide flange members. Achieving a specified fire rating with these means requires an assessment of the structural impact of the fire on the steelwork, which can be carried out in accordance with guidance such as SCI P375.

What are the fire-resistant properties of steel structure workshops?

Alternatively, the fire rating of steel structures can be achieved with a spray application of fire-protective materials. These products are supplied as powders and mixed with water at the construction site to form a slurry that is sprayed or trowel-applied on steelwork. They work by releasing water vapor that insulates the steel and achieves the fire rating. This method is suitable for both new and existing buildings.

Another option is to use fire-resistant lightweight plates, such as gypsum board, styrofoam, vermiculite board, or fiber-reinforced cement boards. These are available in various sizes and thicknesses to match the specific requirements of different applications, including the insulation of steel structure workshops. This method has the advantage of being aesthetically appealing and cost-effective.

In addition, the fire-resistant steel plates are usually designed to be reinforced with steel bars to limit shrinkage cracks and ensure their strength. They can also be coated with special sprayed coatings, such as intumescent coatings, which produce an endothermic reaction when exposed to high temperatures and release water vapour to insulate the steel. In this way, they can reduce the temperature of the steel structure by about 30 degrees Celsius and slow its rate of rise to the critical fire temperature. These fire-protective materials also offer good corrosion resistance. They are also very easy to maintain, and can be replaced when they become damaged or worn. They can be wiped clean or repainted in a short period of time. The fire-resistant property of steel can also be enhanced by the use of refractory bricks to wrap the structural steel members or by fireproof concrete encasement. These are typically used in historic buildings and where a higher fire resistance is required than can be achieved with sprays or boards.

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