Closed-form procedure for predicting the capacity and demand of steel beam-columns under fire

Spencer E. Quiel, Maria Eugenia Moreyra Garlock, Ignacio Paya-Zaforteza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


During a fire, columns on the perimeter of a building will be subject to moments induced by both a thermal gradient and the restraint of axial expansion by adjacent heated beams, which themselves develop axial load. These members thus act as beam-columns because they are then subject to a combination of axial load plus moment caused by a combination of gravity plus thermal loading. This paper presents a two-pronged procedure to predict the behavior of the perimeter column as a beam-column, considering both the individual member response (including thermal gradients) and the global response (including the interactions of adjacent members). All methods discussed in the paper are closed-form (i.e., they require no iteration) and can therefore be solved by using a spreadsheet or simple mathematical algorithm. The framework is sufficiently simple for use in codified structural-fire design and could be included in a reference of performance-based analysis methods for steel structures. Although this paper specifically addresses the performance of columns on the perimeter of buildings, the proposed framework can be a blueprint for the performance-based analysis of other beam-columns, such as floor beams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)967-976
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Structural Engineering
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


  • Beam-columns
  • Fire
  • Performance-based
  • Perimeter column
  • Steel design


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