Opcije pristupačnosti Pristupačnost

Robustness of steel/composite structures in fire




Professor Ian Burgess

Department of Civil & Structural Engineering
University of Sheffield, UK
Email: ian.burgess@sheffield.ac.uk

Ian Burgess gained his first degree at the University of Cambridge, and his doctorate at University College London. His doctoral research work was carried out in the Structural Stability Research Group led by Professor Henry Chilver, on the general stability theory of one-way buckling systems such as reactor pressure vessel linings. Having assumed for the subsequent 35 years that this had been a tremendously absorbing research backwater, he discovered a revival of interest in the subject, led by problems with the buckling of petrochemical pipeline linings. During a two-year NRC fellowship at McMaster University in Canada he became interested in dynamic instability phenomena, and worked in the theory of flutter instability in aero-elastic systems. On returning to the United Kingdom to work at the University of Sheffield he identified that this phenomenon, usually associated with fluid-structure interaction, was a cause of the directional instability of slender piles driven into soft soils, and developed a theory to predict its occurrence.

In the mid-1980s he began a very fruitful and enduring collaboration with Roger Plank (now retired as Head of the Architecture Department at Sheffield) in developing numerical techniques for modelling of the behaviour of steel and composite elements in fire. A finite element approach developed progressively from 1990 as the emphasis gradually shifted from members in isolation towards the performance of whole steel and composite framed building structures and sub-frames. The current Vulcan software is capable of non-linear modelling of 3-dimensional composite buildings as temperature distributions develop through the cross-sections of both beam-columns and slabs. The series of full-scale fire tests on the multi-storey building at Cardington were a vital ingredient in the development of the software, and in understanding the complex interactions which take place in fire. Vulcan is still being developed by the research group, but a designers’ version with an interactive graphical interface is now marketed by a group of the original developers, Vulcan Solutions Ltd. This is now used in performance-based structural fire engineering design by some UK consultants, and was the winner of two British Computer Society national awards in 2005.

The main thrust of the research remains in numerical modelling, but some very successful experimental work has been done at Sheffield in developing a component approach to connection modelling for fire conditions. The most important current theme of the research group, after the tragic events of 11 September 2001, concerns the robustness of connections in fire and the avoidance of progressive collapse of buildings in fire.

The research has been funded mainly by the EPSRC, but has also attracted funding from industry, the EU, and other government agencies. So far the research programme on fire has 30 PhD and 3 MPhil graduates and has generated more than 250 publications. Two companion papers, published in the ASCE Journal of Structural Engineering, were awarded the Raymond C Reese Prize in 2005. Two other papers (1996 and 2010) were given Henry Adams Awards by the Institution of Structural Engineers. 

Ian has also been heavily involved in two recent European network projects aimed at spreading knowledge of performance-based fire engineering across the countries of the EU, and runs the UK’s Steel in Fire Forum which has met twice per year for the past two decades.