The impact of a PEER funded research project "Fire Performance of Steel-Frame Buildings using OpenSees" is highlighted below. The project Principal Investigator (PI) is Erica C. Fischer, PE, Assistant Professor, Oregon State University.
The development of benchmarked finite element modeling capabilities for structural fire engineering to be performed by practitioners would allow the field of structural fire engineering to be adopted by more high-quality practicing engineers. Due to the overwhelming use of OpenSees among the seismic and steel research community, there are a significant number of practicing engineers currently in industry with extensive knowledge on the program. This knowledge base makes this program a unique player for implementing structural fire engineering within the industry practice. The ability of finite element modeling programs to consider the capacity of simple connections to resist imposed flexural and axial demands can demonstrate the inherent robustness of many existing steel buildings to fire loading conditions. This research also demonstrates a growing trend in structural engineering to move towards buildings that can be occupiable after an extreme loading scenario (fire, seismic, column removal). This trend supports business continuity and shelter-in-place goals for post-extreme event conditions in addition to economic security and stability throughout a community. The results of this research can lead to more economic connection design that considers multi-hazard resilience. This more economical design could potentially lead to more sustainable benefits for steel construction in a life cycle analysis.
Figure 1: National Fire Research Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology