Implications of seismic detailing on the fire performance of post-tensioned timber frames
Post-Tensioned Timber (PTT) frames have significant advantages over traditional timber frame systems especially where a low damage design and fast construction are desired. New Zealand practitioners designing timber structures for fire are accustomed to applying ambient design methods to an element cross-section reduced by a char depth based on a duration of Standard Fire exposure following NZS 3603 or AS/NZS 1720.4. The behaviour of PTT frames in fire remains a concern because this approach does not account for the actual mechanics of PTT connection and frame response under natural fires that will occur in the structure. This paper examines the individual and interdependent response of PTT connection components (tendon, dissipater, fasteners, etc) to fire. It is shown that the ambient analysis tool for PTT connections, the Modified Monolithic Beam Analogy, cannot be applied to the fire case by only using char reduced cross-sections of timber elements. This approach of combining ambient methodologies with reduced cross-sections does not account for the specific connection detailing, which result in unique damage in fire that may govern the structural response. The responses of two seismically detailed PTT connections are predicted using this approach and compared to a first principles assessment of connection behaviour to demonstrate that failure will occur earlier than otherwise predicted. Numerical thermal analyses of these two connections also qualitatively corroborate the damage that occurs. This investigation establishes that additional studies are required to understand the complex behaviour of these connections when exposed to fire before a design methodology can be developed.
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