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Modelling and Simulation in Engineering
Volume 2016, Article ID 8639545, 11 pages
Research Article

Fire Spalling Prevention via Polypropylene Fibres: A Meso- and Macroscale Approach

Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering (DICEA), University of Padova, Via F. Marzolo 9, 35131 Padova, Italy

Received 26 December 2015; Accepted 19 July 2016

Academic Editor: Julius Kaplunov

Copyright © 2016 G. Mazzucco and G. Xotta. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A deep understanding of concrete at the mesoscale level is essential for a better comprehension of several concrete phenomena, such as creep, damage, and spalling. The latter one specifically corresponds to the separation of pieces of concrete from the surface of a structural element when it is exposed to high and rapidly rising temperatures; for this phenomenon a mesoscopic approach is fundamental since aggregates performance and their thermal properties play a crucial role. To reduce the risk of spalling of a concrete material under fire condition, the inclusion of a low dosage of polypropylene fibres in the mix design of concrete is largely recognized. PP fibres in fact evaporate above certain temperatures, thus increasing the porosity and reducing the internal pressure in the material by an increase of the voids connectivity in the cement paste. In this work, the contribution of polypropylene fibres on concrete behaviour, if subjected to elevated thermal ranges, has been numerically investigated thanks to a coupled hygrothermomechanical finite element formulation. Numerical analyses at the macro- and mesoscale levels have been performed.