Wind and fire engineering lab facilities

Our wind and fire testing laboratory is housed within QUT’s multi-million dollar Central Analytical Research Facility (CARF) and Banyo Pilot Plant Precinct.

First-class facilities and equipment in our lab allows us to test from very small-scale materials (mechanical and thermal property tests) to full-scale structural fire and wind testing of roof, wall and floor panels.

Testing materials with our equipment helps our researchers and industry partners to develop an improved understanding of the performance of building materials and many important building components such as light gauge steel (LSF) roof panels and LSF wall and floor assemblies under simulated fire conditions (both ambient and elevated temperatures) and wind conditions

Material tests

We can test the mechanical and thermal properties of materials at room and elevated temperatures:

  • Mechanical property tests, for tensile and compressive strengths (elastic modulus, yield and ultimate strengths) and associated ductility measurements
  • Thermal property tests (DSC, TGA, LFA, dilatometer), for specific heat, thermal conductivity, density, thermal expansion and diffusivity

Fire tests

We use gas and electric furnaces to test materials for standard fire curve, hydrocarbon fire curve, external fire and real fire curves:

  • Small-scale fire tests (0.5 m x 0.5 m and 1 m x 1 m gas furnaces) of both wall and floor panels
  • Full-scale fire tests (3 m x 3 m) of wall panels
  • Member capacity tests of individual column and beam members exposed to both uniform elevated temperature exposure or standard fire time-temperature curve.
1x1m gas furnaces for fire testing
1m x 1m gas furnace for floor panel fire testing
1x1m gas furnace for both floor and wall testing
1m x 1m gas furnace for wall panel fire testing
3x3 m Gas Furnace for LSF Wall Panel Fire Tests
3mx3m Gas Furnace for LSF Wall Panel Fire Tests

Wind tests

We can test building components subjecting them to both static and cyclic wind loading:

  • Full scale air box tests  (4 m x 1.5 m) of steel roofing systems (roof and wall sheeting, purlins/girts and battens): test video
  • Small-scale cyclic test – Two-span batten: test video
  • Small-scale cyclic test – Two-span batten with purlins: test video
  • Static and cyclic/fatigue wind loading tests of steel roof and wall systems and their connections.
Small scale two-span batten test
Small scale two-span batten test
Full scale air-box test
Full scale air-box test

Pull-out failure tests of thin steel roof purlins
Pull-out failure tests of thin steel roof purlins
Pull-through failure tests of thin steel roof battens 
Pull-through failure tests of thin steel roof battens

Structural tests

We can perform general structural tests of building components subject to tension, compression, bending, shear, torsion, web crippling and bearing actions.

Our structural testing facility at the Banyo Pilot Plant Precinct and Gardens Point Campus O-Block includes:

  • a scientific and industrial lab for heavy mechanical and structural testing, including fire and wind testing capabilities and many universal testing machines
  • a 5t gantry crane and 2.5t forklift for heavy lifting
  • 100m2 of strong floor (up to 500 kN)
Figure 2: Experimental test set-up for section moment capacity tests of HFSPGs
Bending test set up

Finite element modelling (computer modelling)

All laboratory tests can be simulated using our high performance computing (HPC) facilities. We can achieve them using structural, thermal and coupled thermal and structural finite element models developed using finite element software including Abaqus CAE, MSC Patran, Ansys and SAFIR. More than 40 PhD and Masters research projects have been completed that fully utilized QUT’s HPC facilities to achieve excellent results through simulations.

Sequentially coupled structural model of the rivet beam Heat transfer analysis of LSF walls under fire conditions
Finite element simulation of batten fatigue Global Buckling of CFRP strengthened steel tubular column
Local Buckling of CFRP strengthened steel tubular column