Investigation into the Behavior and Breakage of Glass Facades during Fires

Project: Research

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Fire safety is a major concern for the authorities in Hong Kong and mainland China, aswell as for the general public. In recent years, Hong Kong and China have experienced anumber of devastating fires with tragic consequences, such as the Beijing CCTV officebuilding fire in 2009 that caused the loss of RMB200 million and the fire that occurred in aShanghai high-rise residential building in 2010 that caused 58 deaths and the loss of RMB197million. In the same year, the Jiahe high-rise building fire in Mongkok resulted in 4 deaths,including those of 2 firemen.Glass facades dominate modern high-rise constructions for architectural reasons, but theycan be more vulnerable to intense fires than conventional materials. Loss of facade integritymay provide a channel for fresh air to enter the compartment and an outlet for the fire to spread,thereby accelerating fire development. Glass facades are installed in a variety of formats, suchas point-supported, framed-panel and full-glass walls, and made of various types of glass, suchas coated, ground, laminated, and insulated glass. The accurate prediction of the breakagebehavior of glass curtain walls in various installation formats and ways to improve their fireresistance is thus in urgent demand.The proposed project will develop a valuable framework for predicting thethermal-mechanical behavior of glass building facades and improving their fire resistance.The project will involve full-scale experiments designed to investigate the breakagebehavior of glass facades. Real experimental models will be created with the characteristics ofa variety of installations to simulate compartment fires and assess the breakage behavior ofglass facades. Uniform radiation and non-uniform fire loading conditions will be considered.The effects of different fixing formats on fire resistance will be determined. A series of bendingand static stretching tests will be conducted at various temperatures to explore the basicmechanical properties of different kinds of glass. Moreover, an in-house computational codebased on the mesh-free method will be developed to predict stress distribution, breakage time,and crack initiation and propagation. Simulations will be verified by experiments, which willlead to the development of effective ways of predicting glass facade breakage. On the basis ofthe above work, design recommendations and optimal designs will be proposed.


Project number9042221
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/01/162/12/19

    Research areas

  • Breakage of glass facades,Building facade design,Fire resistance,Performance-based fire design,