Fire protection of tall steel columns using water sprinklers

Jyri Outinen, Jukka Vaari


A known fact is that the water sprinklers cool down the fire and also the structures. In most countries the requirements for fire protection can be lowered, if the building is equipped with automatic water sprinklers.  The cooling effect of different kind of sprinkler types, water flows and droplet size to steel structures has been studied for several years in Finland. The outcome has been a national approval for a fire protection system consisting of a selection of steel structures and certain type of sprinkler systems. This research has been presented in ASFE earlier conferences.The latest research project concerning this is just about to be finished. The objective of this research was to study the behaviour of long steel columns in case of fire in a typical warehouse or a logistic building equipped with adequate sprinkler system. Columns up to 13,7 meters were studied using verified FDS simulation. Fire load scenarios were taken as storage shelves filled with certain material and fire spread. The unknown fact has been how these sprinkler systems cool down the high columns when the sprinkler systems are attached near the roof as normal.  The results of this will be presented in this paper together with some other special cases which might occur in a fire in sprinklered building.

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