Concrete is one of the most resistant construction materials to heat and fire. It is known to retain heat for a relatively long time, thus limiting crack propagation from penetrating deeply. Furthermore, it can be repaired if exposed to fire for a limited time. However it loses its strength dramatically when exposed to elevated temperatures for long duration. With the increase in the use of concrete in structures, a demand arises to assess the fire resistance of concrete structural members and to develop means of improving the fire characteristics of these elements. One of the methods to increase the fire resistance of a building is to coat the structural elements with fire retardant plasters to delay failure. This work presents results of an experimental investigation aimed at evaluating the fire resistance of reinforced concrete columns coated with variable thicknesses of materials that has potential for fire resistance. Four types of coating materials were investigated namely; Perlite, Vermiculite, Rock wool, and conventional cement plaster. The tested columns had three various dimensions, four coating materials, and three coating thickness. Each column was loaded at half its working load and was simultaneously subjected to fire from four sides in a specially prepared furnace. The time needed to reach a specific temperature specified by ASTM-El19 and the post­fire strength were recorded. The results show the impact of the type of coating and column size on the fire resistance characteristics of the reinforced concrete columns in terms of time, and temperature. Relationships reflecting time-temperature correlation at the concrete surface and the coating thickness for each type are presented. On the whole, Perlite yielded superior results than the rest of the three coating materials with the conventional cement paste as the least effective fire protective coatings. The resistance to fire seems to enhance upon increasing coating thickness although de­bonding took place when applying large coat thickness. Further work needs to be conducted involving new materials and techniques, and involving micro-structural analysis of concrete and coating layers.


School of Sciences and Engineering


Interdisciplinary Engineering Program

Date of Award


Online Submission Date


First Advisor

Ezzat Fahmy

Second Advisor

Mohamed Nagib Abou-Zeid

Third Advisor

Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Razek

Committee Member 1

Mounir Mohamed Kamal

Committee Member 2

Safwan Khedr

Committee Member 3

Salah M. El Haggar

Document Type



181 leaves

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Fire resistant materials

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Reinforced concrete


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Call Number

Thesis 2003/49



Included in

Engineering Commons