Behavior of steel bridge girders under fire conditions

Esam M. Aziz, Venkatesh K. Kodur, Jonathan D. Glassman, Maria Eugenia Moreyra Garlock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


This paper presents results from experimental and numerical studies on the fire performance of typical steel girders used in bridges. As part of experimental studies three steel-concrete composite girders were tested under simultaneous loading and fire exposure. Test variables included: load level, web slenderness, and spacing of stiffeners. Results from fire tests indicate that typical steel girders can experience failure under standard fire conditions in about 30-35 min. The time to failure and mode of failure in fire exposed steel girders is highly influenced by web slenderness, spacing of stiffeners, and type of fire exposure. Steel bridge girders fail through flexural yielding when web slenderness is around 50; however failure mode changes to web shear buckling when web slenderness in girders exceed 100. Data from fire tests is utilized to validate a finite element based numerical model for tracing the response of steel bridge girders exposed to fire. Results from numerical analysis show that the proposed finite element model is capable of tracing the response of steel bridge girders under simultaneous loading and fire conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-22
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Constructional Steel Research
StatePublished - Mar 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Metals and Alloys


  • Bridge fires
  • Failure limit states
  • Fire resistance
  • Fire tests
  • Steel girders
  • Web slenderness


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