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Why brick and concrete are incombustible building materials but... Print E-mail

Question:

 

  • Why brick and concrete are incombustible building materials but masonry exterior walls and interior partitions made of brick or concrete are rarely used in fire resistance application ? 

     

 

 

 

Answer:

 

  • Due to the inherent properties of bricks and concrete, of which non-combustibility is an oustanding feature, masonry walls are also non-combustible but have a poor performance of fire resistance. There are several reasons related to this issue.

     

  • First, masonry walls (walls built up from bricks and concrete) have a good thermal transmittance or a poor thermal insulation, therefore when exposed to fire, the temperature on the non-fire surface of the walls will rapidly exceed the maximum allowable temperature specified by international norms for rating the Fire Resistance Level of Walls and Ceilings, for instance American standard ASTM E119 / British standard BS 476 part 21 & 22 / European standard EN 1364 part 1 & 2, EN 1365 part 1 & 2 / Australian standard AS 1530 part 4.

     

  • Second, masonry walls do not catch fire but due to the attack of high temperature flames, brick joints made of traditional portland cement based mortar will be quickly destroyed, creating gaps or passages for hot flames to spread from the fire side to the non-fire side of the walls. In addition, the bricks themselves will break and collapse, allowing hot flames to go through.
 
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