Building Simulation: An International Journal

Article Title

Heat release and flame propagation in prefabricated modular unit with GFRP composite facades


GFRP, building facade, fire, heat release rate, prefabricated modular building


Prefabrication of modular residential and office units involves rapid manufacturing various building components off-site from different choices of materials, and transportation to construction site for the complete assembly. While this prefabrication manufacturing process could reduce construction costs, time and waste by using lightweight composite modules (LCM), significant challenge is associated with fire performance of an office modular unit using the modular units. This work aims at investigating the fire performance of a modular office unit using the LCM in terms of heat release rate and temperature history and compared with the traditional office unit model using glazing facade. The heat release and flame propagations in a selected prefabricated modular office unit are simulated with computational fluid dynamic (CFD) taking into account the complexity of the materials systems and the influences of the facade. The numerical procedure combining pyrolysis analysis of the composite sandwiches and the fire dynamic simulation of the combustion process is developed. The computational model is validated with thermal responses obtained from the cone calorimetry experiments. Kinetic parameters obtained from the TGA tests and pyrolysis analysis are used as inputs for the models measuring the fire growth index and total heat release. A multilayer sandwich composite material model is proposed to simulate the thermal responses and combustion processes of the prefabricated unit envelop. Temperatures at critical locations of the units are captured and compared with the standard fire curve to reveal the significant improvement in the fire performance of the office modular unit utilising GFRP composite.


Tsinghua University Press