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Publication: Wood Design Focus
Authors: 0
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Publish Year: 1999
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Title: Calculating the Fire Resistance of Exposed Wood Members.
Large wood memb e r s have long been recognized
for their ability to maintain structural integrity while exposed
to fire. Mill construction in the 19th century utilized
massive solid-sawn timbers to carry heavy loads and to
resist structural failure from fire. Exposed wood structural
members are popular with architects and designers of
modern buildings because they have a pleasing appearance,
are economical and easy to use, and provide necessary
fire endurance. Glued-laminated (glulam) members
are now commonly used where large cross sections
and long spans are needed. Glulam offers the same fire
performance advantages as do large solid-sawn timbers.
The superior fire performance of heavy timbers is attributed
to the charring effect of wood. When a large
wood member is exposed to fire, an insulating layer of
char forms on its surface that protects its core. Thus, solid
-sawn and glulam beams and columns can be designed
so that a sufficient cross section of unaffected wood remains
to sustain the design loads for the required duration
of fire exposure. A standard fire exposure is used for
design purposes.

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