Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Leonard D. Albano, Advisor


Robert W. Fitzgerald




Fire has always been one of the most serious threats of collapse to structural building frames. The September 11 incident has stimulated significant interests in analyzing and understanding the behavior of the structures under fire events. The strength of the material decreases due to the elevated temperature caused by fire, and this reduction in strength leads to the failure of the member. Frames that do not have sufficient ductility can suffer progressive collapse of the entire structure if one member fails during a fire event. Such collapse could result in loss of human life and serious economic consequences. The motivation for this thesis is to provide an understanding of the continuity effects in steel frames under fire conditions. The continuity effects of the structure can provide additional strength to the system to sustain the loads under fire event. Different scenarios of the frame and beam structures which include changes to member sizes, fire locations, and bay size, are investigated with the assistance of SAP2000 and ANSYS. These programs can provide the collapse analysis for each scenario at different temperature. The continuity effect was investigated from the strength point of view of the structure. Ultimately, the thesis presents a design tool for aiding member design under fire conditions. The design tool consists of different graphs that maybe use to determine the collapse load capacity of a continuous structure at elevated temperature based on the analysis of a simpler, determinate structure.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Civil & Environmental Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





Steel, Fire, Continuity, Structure