Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article


Doctor of Philosophy


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Youssef, Maged A


Post-earthquake fire (PEF) is a significant hazard that can be caused by broken gas lines, damaged electrical systems, or other failures. They can also be exacerbated by problems with the water supply and sprinkler systems. PEF can cause significant damage to buildings and infrastructure which reduces the safety provided for the evacuation process. To mitigate the risks associated with PEFs, it is crucial to comprehend the effect of seismic damage on the building's behaviour during fire exposure. There is a lack of research in this area. This research aims at assessing the behaviour of RC frames exposed to PEF.

The research started by analyzing the effect of concrete cracks and cover spalling on the temperature distribution within concrete sections. A comprehensive parametric study is conducted to evaluate variations in the length of spalled concrete cover in typical reinforced concrete elements experiencing lateral loads. An expression is then proposed to estimate the spalled length based on the lateral drift, axial load ratio, and properties of the section.

A simplified method is then suggested to analyze reinforced concrete frames while taking into account the effect of seismic damage. The results of this method were found to be promising when compared to previous experimental and numerical studies.

The thesis ends by proposing a fragility analysis framework for RC frames exposed to PEF. The framework accounts for uncertainties in the fire, loads, and material properties. The framework was applied to a sample RC frame. PEF was shown to result in a rapid collapse of the considered frame, reducing the evacuation time for the occupants.

Summary for Lay Audience

This study examines the risk of fires that are expected to happen after earthquakes. These fires can ignite due to broken gas lines, damaged electrical systems, or other structural failures. They can also be made worse by limited access to water for firefighters, leading to significant damage to buildings. The research examines the temperature distribution within the concrete components affected by the earthquake. It then suggests a simplified method to analyze reinforced concrete frames, taking into account the damage caused by the earthquake. The work was then extended to consider the uncertainties associated with earthquakes and fire events. The methods developed in this research can be used to ascertain the safety of occupants during such extreme events.

Available for download on Wednesday, January 01, 2025