Timber heritage structures are prevalent worldwide due to the inherent ease of their construction prior to the popularization of contemporary concrete and steel buildings in the late 19 th century. As material reuse or conservation becomes a more popular and sustainable option, the performance of these timber structures is being (re) examined, and their performance in a fire is not an exception to this. This is particularly important as vulnerable structures are left to decay in some instances. For this reason, there is a value in researching the fire performance of existing mass timbers members found in infrastructure. This study aims to address this need and to provide a holistic study on the resilience of heritage timber with controlled fire exposure. The research presented involves testing sections of heritage timber (defined herein as timber which has seen over 100 years in service conditions) that were reclaimed from structural members in an existing adaptive reuse project in Canada. These samples were first characterized through mechanical tests, and then tested using a Lateral Ignition and Flame spread Test (LIFT) apparatus, with exposure to a severe heat flux to propagate flame spread down the length of the sample. This exposure would indeed be representative of a real fire exposure. The authors studied the char and pyrolysis depth of samples post heating. The results were compared to modern engineered timber samples (LVL and glulam) of equivalent moisture condition(s) that were also tested by the authors in this study. The results herein imply that heritage structures are indeed capable of illustrating similar if not superior fire resistance to modem day counterparts.

6th International Conference on Engineering Mechanics and Materials 2017
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Otto, A. (Arlin), Todd, H. (Hailey), & Gales, J. (2017). Mass heritage timber performance in fire. In 6th International Conference on Engineering Mechanics and Materials 2017 (pp. 630–639).