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Concrete is a popular building material due to its strength, durability, and versatility. However, one of the most significant benefits of concrete is its ability to resist fire. In this article, we will explore the science behind concrete’s fire resistance, including the factors that affect its ability to withstand high temperatures and the methods used to measure its fire resistance.

The Science of Concrete Fire Resistance

What is Fire Resistance?

Fire resistance is the ability of a material or structural element to withstand the effects of fire or to provide protection against fire. When it comes to concrete, fire resistance involves its capacity to contain a fire to continue to perform a specific structural function, or both [5].

Factors Affecting Concrete’s Fire Resistance

Several factors can impact the fire resistance of concrete. The most crucial factors include the density, thickness, and compressive strength of the concrete.


The density of concrete plays a significant role in its fire resistance. A study by the University of Auckland found that the fire resistance of ultra-lightweight concrete with a density of 400kg/m3 was more than three times that of other concrete samples with a density of 150 kg/m3 [2].


Generally speaking, thicker concrete performs better when exposed to fire. The Eurocode 2, Part 1-2: Structural fire design gives a choice of advanced, simplified, or tabular methods for determining the fire resistance of columns. Using tables is the fastest method for determining the minimum dimensions and cover for columns [3].

Compressive Strength

Concrete’s compressive strength also affects its fire resistance. A study found that the compressive strength of concrete affects the fire resistance time of a steel-filled tube exposed to standard fire heating [6].

Methods for Measuring Fire Resistance

Several methods are used to measure the fire resistance of concrete. These methods include advanced, simplified, and tabular methods for determining the fire resistance of columns mentioned earlier.

In addition, RC beam fire resistance limits are determined via a prescriptive design approach, which specifies certain deemed-to-satisfy requirements, such as the minimum sectional dimensions and cover thickness of rebars [8].


In conclusion, concrete’s fire resistance is one of its most significant benefits. Several factors, including density, thickness, and compressive strength, affect its ability to withstand high temperatures. There are several methods for measuring the fire resistance of concrete, including advanced, simplified, and tabular methods for determining the fire resistance of columns.

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