Efectis published a new article as a further step towards understanding the Grenfell fire disaster. The fire behaviour of windows installed in a building facade has an important influence on fire development during an enclosure fire. When subjected to the thermal actions of a fire, windows may have little fire resistance and thus can fail. When this happens, they transform into additional ventilation openings, altering the supply of fresh air to the enclosure.

Observations and numerical studies have allowed an understanding of the fire development inside apartments and over the facade during the Grenfell Tower fire. During these analyses, the need was highlighted for a deeper investigation into the failure of windows. To analyse window behaviour during a fire, an advanced Finite Element Method thermomechanical modelling is used. First, a heat transfer analysis is performed for windows subjected to the external flames from the identified scenario. The thermal loads evaluated from the fire are applied to the window structures to estimate their failure times. Two window casement configurations, closed and tilted-in, are investigated numerically. Then, a thermomechanical analysis of the window is addressed for each casement configuration. The modelled failure times are compared with those from observations. The good correlation that is observed, regardless of casement configuration, justifies the use of a simplified criterion for window failure in further steps of the study. In this case, a few minutes of fire exposure were sufficient for massive failure and communication between facade fire and apartments.

Article is available on Fire Technology website:

Previous already published steps of this analysis are available as follows:

Contact: Eric Guillaume [eric.guillaume@efectis.com]