Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Tahar El-Korchi, Department Head

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Leonard D. Albano, Advisor


Robert W. Fitzgerald




Fire is a significant threat to the structural integrity of buildings. Depending on the architecture of the structure and the intensity and duration of the fire event, structural members may lose strength and stiffness eventually leading to collapse whether by flexural buckling or crushing. The focus of this research is on the behavior and fire performance of reinforced-concrete columns under fire conditions. In order to effectively study column performance with differing loading, aggregate and dimensional characteristics under varying time-temperature curves and fire exposures, a numerical model was constructed in Microsoft Excel. The spreadsheet model allowed for complete transparency of the calculations and provided a means to visualize the data in flexible ways. ANSYS and several published column furnace tests were used to benchmark the heat transfer and structural analysis portions of the model. One, three and four-sided fire exposures along with the ASTM E119 fire curve and a natural fire curve were used to study latent heating effects, increasing and decreasing eccentricities, moment magnification, and failure modes. Assessments of column structural capacity were performed in accordance with the provisions of ACI 318. The completed model served as an effective tool for the thesis and is available to help aid students and engineers investigate the design of reinforced concrete columns under fire conditions through integration the heat transfer analyses and the structural evaluations.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Civil & Environmental Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





fire performance, structural capacity, column behavior, spreadsheet, numerical model, fire conditions, reinforced concrete