The Collapse Behaviour of Cold-formed Steel Portal Frames at Elevated Temperatures

Ross P. D. Johnston, Mohammed Sonebi, James B. P. Lim, Cecil G. Armstrong, Andrzej M. Wrzesien, Gasser Abdelal, Ying Hu

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13 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes the results of non-linear elasto-plastic implicit dynamic finite element analyses that are used to predict the collapse behaviour of cold-formed steel portal frames at elevated temperatures. The collapse behaviour of a simple rigid-jointed beam idealisation and a more accurate semi-rigid jointed shell element idealisation are compared for two different fire scenarios. For the case of the shell element idealisation, the semi-rigidity of the cold-formed steel joints is explicitly taken into account through modelling of the bolt-hole elongation stiffness. In addition, the shell element idealisation is able to capture buckling of the cold-formed steel sections in the vicinity of the joints. The shell element idealisation is validated at ambient temperature against the results of full-scale tests reported in the literature. The behaviour at elevated temperatures is then considered for both the semi-rigid jointed shell and rigid-jointed beam idealisations. The inclusion of accurate joint rigidity and geometric non-linearity (second order analysis) are shown to affect the collapse behaviour at elevated temperatures. For each fire scenario considered, the importance of base fixity in preventing an undesirable outwards collapse mechanism is demonstrated. The results demonstrate that joint rigidity and varying fire scenarios should be considered in order to allow for conservative design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-101
JournalJournal of Structural Fire Engineering
Issue number2
Early online date20 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


  • fire
  • portal frame
  • cold-formed steel
  • semi-rigid joints
  • FEA
  • implicit dynamic analysis


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