Compression Failure of Aluminum Plates Exposed to Constant Heat Flux

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Virginia Tech

Aluminum is used as a structural member in marine applications because of its low weight. One challenge is to design against failure of aluminum structures in fire. A parametric study was performed to quantify the effects of parameters on the compression failure of aluminum plates during a fire. A thermo-structural apparatus was designed to perform compression tests on aluminum samples consisting of a compression load frame, a hydraulic system, and electric heaters.

The effect of dimensional variation on failure behavior was examined. Aluminum 5083 and 6082 alloys were tested with three thicknesses, two lengths and two widths. Three heat fluxes and various buckling stresses were used. Micro Vicker's hardness values were measured before and after testing to quantify the effect of heating on the strength of the aluminum.

In general, lower applied stress resulted in higher failure temperature and longer time to failure. Dimensional variations had a negligible effect on failure behavior. The 5083 alloy has a minimum stress level of 50% of the buckling stress at 10kW/m2 and 10% of the buckling stress at 20kW/m2, while the 6082 alloy has a minimum stress level of 75% of the buckling stress at 10kW/m2 and 25% of the buckling stress at 20kW/m2. The 6082 failed at higher temperatures and longer failure times than the 5083. The presence of insulation on the exposed surface decreased the temperature rise, resulting in longer failure times. Vicker's hardness decreased with heating in general. The results describe the effects of parameters of the failure of aluminum.

compression loading, intermediate-scale, fire