Apron design for protecting double-skin façade fires



Although double-skin façade (DSF) is an environmental-friendly architectural feature, its fire behaviour is a deep concern. The interior glass system including the glass pane, metal frame and associated accessories will be hotter than the exterior glass system as demonstrated by earlier studies. The glass pane above the fire room will be broken to spread flame into the upper compartment. Aprons are proposed to protect the air cavity of DSF in a way similar to those outside a single-skin façade. In this paper, the effect of aprons in protecting against fire spread from an underlying compartment to the compartments above by preventing glass breakage of the inner glass pane was studied. Fire and smoke from a post-flashover room fire adjacent to the DSF would be trapped in the air cavity between the two glass panes. Spreading of hot gases with different apron widths was studied by numerical simulations with CFD first. Fire environment with and without breaking the apron immediately above the fire room was studied. Full-scale burning tests on part of an experimental DSF rig were then carried out to demonstrate the performance of horizontal apron in the DSF rig of 6 m tall and air cavity depth of 2 m with different apron widths. All demonstrated that providing apron is appropriate in protecting DSF fires. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.