Fire Performance Evaluation of Sustainable Basalt Fiber-Reinforced Limestone Calcined Clay Cement Composites

Project: Research

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Evaluating the performance of building materials under fire is a prerequisite for meeting the fire safety criteria in the building industry. Exposure of composite materials to fire adversely and irreversibly affects their durability, serviceability and structural performance. Concrete is one such composite material; it undergoes strength degradation during a fire that may cause structural component failure, leading to significant casualties and economic losses. One example is the Harbin North Nanxun Ceramics Market Warehouse (China) fire in 2015, which caused 19 casualties and millions of dollars’ worth of damage due to the failure of concrete members. Meanwhile, cement industry is facing demanding challenges to reduce carbon emissions. The use of limestone calcined clay cement (LC3) has been identified as one of the sustainable ways to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint by up to 40% at relatively low costs. However, recent studies revealed higher strength loss in LC3composites than ordinary Portland cement composites at elevated temperatures. Sustainable basalt fibers with high thermal endurance are potential candidates to improve their fire performance. At elevated temperatures, basalt fiber-reinforced LC3(BFRLC3) composites are expected to undergo complex variations in the structure of basalt fiber, the LC3matrix, and their interface. These variations require a multiphysics model to understand their thermal-mechanical behaviors under fire. Traditional mesh-based methods for solving multiphysics problems have several shortcomings in modeling coupled heat transfer and moisture transport phenomena in multiphase systems. The proposed study aims to develop a novel meshfree computational framework to solve the thermal-hygro-mechanical (THM) coupling problem and evaluate the fire performance of BFRLC3composites. The critical challenge lies in the accurate characterization of strong nonlinearity caused by differential thermal stresses, strong discontinuity due to multiple cracking, and large deformations induced by spalling. A detailed study of this coupled multiphysics problem is therefore crucial to provide new insights into the thermal-mechanical behaviors of BFRLC3composites exposed to fire and alleviate safety risks. In the proposed project, a series of experimental investigations will be conducted to elucidate the fire performance of newly developed BFRLC3composites. A multiscale meshfree computational framework will be developed and verified using experimental results to study THM mechanism and predict failure behaviors of BFRLC3composites under fire. The effects of fiber volume fraction, diameter, length, distribution, and orientation on the composites’ thermal-mechanical behavior and post-fire properties will be investigated. Performance optimization will be carried out to improve the fire safety design of LC3-based composites. 


Project number9043306
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/01/23 → …