January 2012 | b-panel Floor Panel Fire Test Result at PUSLITBANGKIM

Fire accident can happen at any time. For occupant safety, it must be ensured that the building structure remain completely sound even if exposed to high temperatures due to fire. This provides an opportunity for residents to evacuate themselves. The purpose of this article is to clearly measure fire performance of b-panel® from a live test for the application of floor panel.

When a building is used daily at normal temperature, there is a natural balance between combustible material with oxygen. However, when these materials come into contact with a number of sufficient energy, this balance is disturbed. The fire can burn through several phases: ignition, growth/development, fully developed, and decay. Here is a graph of the development phases of the process of fire.


Gambar 1 – Fase-fase kebakaran  (sumber : European Manufactures of  EPS)

Solid material is not burned directly, but produces flammable gases when heated. In the first phase of the fire, the flammable gases are formed and accumulate while the temperature is still relatively low. After a couple of time, there can be rapid development of fire, called flash over. A number of the material reaches the temperature of ignition; then the temperature rise rapidly from just about 100oC to more than 750oC. The increasing gases are burned and the fire spreads to the whole room. For humans, temperature above 45oC causes discomfort, stays prolonged above 65oC can damage the lungs and people will not survive for a long time if the temperature continues to rise. After a flash over, the fire reaches full size and the subsequent development is influenced by the availability of oxygen through the ventilation located on the building. After a flash over, the opportunity to save people is

limited because of the high temperature, the lack of oxygen, and material damage with the heat and soot. Finally, the fire will disappear because combustible materials are drying up. (source : European Manufactures of EPS).

b-panel® is a double layers of reinforced concrete panel which is specially designed with a layer of insulation EPS (Expanded Polystyrene, otherwise known as Styrofoam) in the middle. According to the research, EPS has low toxicity when burned compared to building materials and other insulation materials (for more details can be seen in the article “Fire Characteristics of Expanded Polystyrene”). EPS becomes even safer if the EPS is protected or encapsulated in concrete, as in the case of b-panel®. b-panel® can be used on walls, floors, stairs, and roof decks.

Here is the result of the level of fire resistance test performed on one of b-panel® products, which is floor panels with a thickness of 17 cm. The test was conducted at the Building Science Laboratory (PUSLITBANGKIM) in Cileunyi, Bandung on July 1, 2010. The sample of floor panel is made by using the b-deck® system composed of b-panel® floor panel (density 12 kg/m3) with  a two-bar type steel reinforcement in each of the channels within the panel. The floor panel has a size of 3600 mm x 3500 mm and a K-225 concrete is used for casting. The construction of the floor panel using b-deck® system can be seen in Figure 2 and Figure 3.


Figure 2 – Floor panel section


Figure 3 – Floor panel construction on test

In testing the floor panel was placed as a cover on a horizontal test furnace and given static loading uniformly using a ballast in the form of sandbags. The loading was set at 200 kg/m2. All four sides of the floor panel rested to the edge of furnace in free circumstances without the clamp. It can be seen in Figure 4.

The furnace temperature was set to follow the time-temperature standard curve in accordance by SNI 1741-2008. Furnace temperature was measured using six thermocouples placed evenly with a distance of 100 mm from the surface of the floor panel exposed to fire. In this test the temperature of the back surface of the test object and the internal temperature of the floor panel was measured using a thermocouple. Ability in bearing the load of the floor panel (stability) was also evaluated from the deflection that occurred during the test. During the test, the deflections happened to the floor panel was monitored with three transducers mounted in the middle of the floor panel.

The test sample of the floor panel is compliant with the Fire Resistance Level (FRL) 180/180/160 in accordance by SNI 1741-2008. FRL 180/180/160 have a meaning that the criteria for fire resistance seen from the stability, integrity, and insulation. The criteria for eligibility structure (stability) based on Undang-Undang No. 28 about Building, related to the deflections that occurred at the time of trial, are as follow:

  • For 1 hour fire resistance cannot be longer than 62.5 mm.
  • For 2 hours fire resistance cannot be longer than 104,2 mm.
  • For 3 hours fire resistance cannot be longer than 125 mm.

Whereas for the criteria of integrity, it need to be ensured that cracks that penetrate does not happen, thus reducing the function of the structure and spreading fire or smoke. The criteria for the insulation, temperature rise for 160 minutes on the back side surface of the test sample is not more than 180oC, or the average temperature rise is not more than 140oC above the initial temperature.


Figure 4 – The test of fire resistance of the floor panel

The test was conducted for 180 minutes. During the test, the temperature of the furnace reached 1090oC. Here is a visual observation of the condition of the specimen during the test is presented in Table 1.

Table 1 – Visual Observation

Time (minute) Visual Observation
0 The test was started
15 Smoke started coming out from the side of the specimen
60 The maximum deflection is 24,72 mm
120 The maximum deflection is 24,72 mm
180 The maximum deflection is 24,72 mm

The test was stopped

From these results the deflection occurred in the floor panel during the test fulfilled the criteria of the eligibility structure (stability) based on Undang-Undang No. 28 about Building. And the cracks that penetrated did not occur during the  combustion for 180 minutes.

Here is the result of floor temperature measurement of the back surface of test objects (unexposed surface):

Table 2 – Back surface temperature data

For insulation criteria, the maximum temperature rise in the back side surface of the test sample is 133oC and a rise in temperature is 108.8oC above the initial temperature for 160 minutes. It can be concluded, the test sample of the 17 cm floor panel with two-type of steel reinforcement meets the requirements of Fire Resistance Level 180/180/160 in accordance with SNI 1741-2008.

With the fulfillment of the floor panel b-panel® in fire test based on ISO 1741-2008, it can be concluded that the b-panel® is a safe building system, where when there is a fire, the performance of b-panel® provides more than enough time for evacuation of occupants and users of buildings, because of the controlled dimensional changes due to deflection and cracking, and the spread of the source of hazards (heat, fire, smoke, and toxic).

Source: b-panel® Engineering Team

Print Friendly