NIST's Fire Research Laboratory expands testing facility.

Press Release Summary:

NIST's National Fire Research Laboratory is adding 21,400 sq ft of space to Large Fire Laboratory, which will accommodate structural systems and components up to 26 ft high for simulating fires. Accommodating fires up to 20 MW heat release rate, facility will include test area with 60 x 90 ft floor as well as 45 x 50 ft hood to remove smoke and hot gases and collect data. Added capabilities may lead to standards for fire-resistant structural designs and innovations in building construction.

Original Press Release:

The National Fire Research Laboratory

The National Fire Research Laboratory (NFRL) is adding a new, unique facility that will serve as a center of excellence for fire performance of structures ranging in size from small components to large systems up to 2 stories in height. The laboratory will be led, managed and operated as a collaborative facility through a public-private partnership between NIST and industry, academia, and other government agencies.

The work of the laboratory will be focused on the Engineering Laboratory mission:

To promote US innovation and industrial competitiveness in areas of national priority by anticipating and meeting the measurement science and standards needs for technology-intensive manufacturing and construction in ways that enhance economic prosperity and improve the quality of life.

Scientists and engineers from industry, academia, and government agencies will work side-by-side with NIST researchers to address significant
technical problems and fill critical knowledge gaps, and international scientists and engineers will be welcome to partner with NIST in areas of mutual interest. Projects may be funded by industry and government on a cost-shared basis.

The additional capabilities will allow NIST to:

o Test the performance of full-scale structures subjected to realistic fires and structural loading under controlled laboratory conditions.

o Develop an experimental database on the performance of large-scale structural connections, components, subassemblies, and systems under realistic fire and loading.

o Validate physics-based models to predict fire resistance performance of structures.

o Enable performance-based standards for fire resistance design of structures and foster innovations in design and construction.

The NFRL is adding 21,400 sq ft laboratory space to the existing Large Fire Laboratory (Building 205) and installing an environmental control system (ECS) to supplement the existing ECS to accommodate fires up to 20 MW heat release rate.

The new laboratory space will accommodate 26 ft high (2 story x 2 bay x 3 bay) structural systems or components. Gravity loading will be applied using hydraulic actuators or fixed loads. Fully involved building fires, fueled by gas or liquid fuel, wood cribs, or actual building contents, will be employed to simulate actual building fire conditions. Smoke and hot gasses will be captured using a large hood over the test area allowing characteristics of the fire to be measured accurately. The smoke and combustion by-products will be contained and treated to meet strictnenvironmental requirements.

The test area will consist of a 60 ft x 90 ft strong floor with anchor points on a 2 ft x 2 ft grid. The floor will be supported on a nine-cell reinforced concrete box girder providing a basement below the strong floor with a ceiling height of 9 ft. To one side of the strong floor will be a 30 ft high x 60 ft wide concrete strong wall with anchor points on the same grid as the strong floor. The strong wall will act to stabilize a test specimen to prevent uncontrolled failure, provide lateral restraint, or to laterally load a structure to simulate earthquake damage. A 45 ft x 50 ft hood, centered above the strong floor, will capture and remove smoke and hot gases and provide heat release rate calorimetry data.

Specifications / Capabilities:

Strong Floor

o 18.3 m x 27.4 m (60 ft x 90 ft) post-tensioned floor with full basement

o 9 cell RC box girder with 0.30 m (12 in) thick shear walls at 3.16 m (10 ft) o.c.

o Basement ceiling height: 2.7 m (9 ft)

o Floor thickness: 1.07 m (3 ft-6 in) with 152 mm (6 in) sacrificial top surface

o 1134 anchor points on 0.61 m x 0.61 m

o (2 ft x 2 ft) grid (sleeves or anchors)

o Load per anchor point: 445 kN (100 kips) up or down

o Shear capacity per anchor point: 222 kN (50 kips) (at top of slab)
o Moment capacity per anchor point: 136 kN-m (100 ft kips) (at c.g. of strong floor)
Strong Wall

o 9.1 m high x 18.3 m wide (30 ft high x 60 ft wide)

o 1.2 m (4 ft) deep post-tensioned concrete wall

o 406 anchor points on 0.61 x 0.61 m (2 ft x 2 ft) grid

o Horizontal Load 445 kN per 3.05 m (10 kips per lineal ft) at 9.14 m (30 ft)
ECS Hood and Pollution Control System

o 13.7 m x 15.2 m (45 ft x 50 ft) steel hood

o Height above floor: 12.5 m (41 ft)

o (excluding skirts)

o ECS maximum sustained capacity: 20 MW

o ECS maximum flow rate: 5100 m3/min (180,000 cfm)


o Two 20-ton bridge cranes (sharing single set of rails)

oHeight of rails above floor: 11.2 m (36 ft-8 in)

o Clearance, bottom of bridge-to-floor: 9.45 m (31 ft) Configurable Hydraulic Loading System

o Hydraulic Power Unit 3375 lpm (90 gpm)

o Actuators (double acting) 750 mm (30 in) stroke w/ servo valve, load cell and swivels

o Eight 240 kN (55 kip) Tension, 365 kN

o (80 kip) Compression

o Two 445 kN (100 kip) Tension, 650 kN

o (145 kip) Compression

o Two 965 kN (215 kip) Tension, 1460 kN

o(330 kip) Compression

oFour Hydraulic service manifolds



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