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WWII bunkers to house new fire testing facility

News

FULL SCALE fire testing of long span beams and floor plates will be offered in a new Sheffield University research facility later this year.

It will be set up in former WWII concrete bunkers at the remote Buxton research establishment in Yorkshire.

This is currently shared by the university and the Health & Safety Executive.

Buxton has been used for decades for research into extreme events such as fire, explosions and ballistic impacts.

As a result of a reorganisation of facilities used by the university and HSE, several concrete bunkers suitable for testing have become available.

Sheffield school of architecture head Professor Roger Plank said that the new facility would not replace research body BRE's mothballed large scale testing facility at Cardington, Bedfordshire.

'But we will be able to carry out research into the fire performance of beams and trusses up to 15m span or more, and large floor plates.' Plank added that the new laboratory would use purpose built furnaces for the tests. 'Our fi rst project will be long span beams.

Then we're hoping to look at precast concrete floors supported by steel beams, ' he said.

'In the longer term we want to study the robustness of joints and the resistance of post tensioned concrete floors.' Plank said Buxton could also accommodate test specimens for stress laminated timber floors.

Last week one leading timber design consultant complained he had been unable to find such a facility (News last week).

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