Numerical Study of Double Stud LSF Walls Exposed to Fire Conditions

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Fire safety of light gauge steel frame (LSF) stud walls is important in the design of buildings. Many experimental and numerical studies have been undertaken to investigate the fire performance of load bearing LSF walls under standard fire conditions. Single stud LSF walls are the most common configuration used in the residential sector for both load bearing and non-load bearing walls. But in places where higher acoustic insulation rating and load carrying capacities are required, double stud LSF walls are used. Double stud walls have two parallel rows of studs with studs located directly opposite each other. Standard fire tests of full-scale double stud walls have shown that their fire resistance level (FRL) is superior to that of single stud walls. In single stud LSF walls the major mode of heat transfer from fire side to the ambient side is by conduction through steel studs followed by convection and radiation within the cavity whereas in the case of double stud LSF walls the conduction through steel studs is significantly reduced by the air gap between the two rows of stud. In this study, numerical models were developed to simulate this complex heat transfer mechanism in the double stud LSF walls and to explain the reasons for the superior fire resistance of double stud walls. Thermal numerical analysis results were compared with full-scale standard fire test results. This paper presents the details of the numerical study of load bearing double stud walls, comparisons with fire test results and its findings.