Special Seminar: Dr. Ruben Van Coile

July 10, 2018 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am


Concrete structures are generally capable of maintaining stability throughout a fire event. After cooling, currently a combination of destructive and non-destructive testing, expert judgment and calculations is used to decide whether the structure should be demolished or repaired, or can continue to be used without repairs or rehabilitation. However, there are many uncertainties associated with both the fire duration and the effect of elevated temperatures on the residual mechanical properties of the materials. Consequently, the maximum imposed load after fire exposure should be assessed based on reliability considerations in order to provide an adequate level of safety.

As reliability calculations are too complex and time-consuming for most practical use, a reliability-based assessment tool has been developed for concrete elements to determine the maximum allowable characteristic value of the imposed load after fire. When using the proposed method, a user-defined safety level is targeted. By default this target safety level is the safety level associated with design of new structures.

The proposed assessment method is both user-friendly and directly applicable in practice. Furthermore, its range of application extends beyond ex-post evaluations of residual capacity as it can also inform design by providing an a priori assessment of expected performance post-fire. While originally developed for concrete elements, its extension to other material types is envisaged.

Dr. Ruben Van Coile is an Assistant Professor ‘Structural Fire Safety’ at Ghent University, Belgium. He has degrees in civil engineering, fire safety engineering and law, and has been a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Edinburgh and a practicing fire safety and structural fire safety engineer in London, UK. His research field focuses on the application of risk and reliability methods to structural fire engineering.

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