Integrated fire dynamic and thermomechanical modeling of a bridge under fire

Joonho Choi, Rami Haj-Ali, Hee Sun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This paper proposes a nonlinear computational modeling approach for the behaviors of structural systems subjected to fire. The proposed modeling approach consists of fire dynamics analysis, nonlinear transient-heat transfer analysis for predicting thermal distributions, and thermomechanical analysis for structural behaviors. For concretes, transient heat formulations are written considering temperature dependent heat conduction and specific heat capacity and included within the thermomechanical analyses. Also, temperature dependent stress-strain behaviors including compression hardening and tension softening effects are implemented within the analyses. The proposed modeling technique for transient heat and thermomechanical analyses is first validated with experimental data of reinforced concrete (RC) beams subjected to high temperatures, and then applied to a bridge model. The bridge model is generated to simulate the fire incident occurred by a gas truck on April 29, 2007 in Oakland California, USA. From the simulation, not only temperature distributions and deformations of the bridge can be found, but critical locations and time frame where collapse occurs can be predicted. The analytical results from the simulation are qualitatively compared with the real incident and show good agreements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)815-829
Number of pages15
JournalStructural Engineering and Mechanics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 25 Jun 2012


  • Bridge
  • Finite element analysis
  • Fire
  • Fire dynamics simulator
  • Thermomechanical behavior
  • Transient-heat analysis


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