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Discuss about the ways how the number of injuries and deaths can be reduced by careful selection of materials in the construction of buildings in case of a fire.

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Introduction Fire can be very useful; however it can also be very hazardous at times. The table below shows the number of injuries and deaths in the UK in 2002. Fire incidents 519, 400 Death toll 562 Injuries 16, 595 Population 5, 991, 200 Table 1 Fire can start anytime and anywhere. It can be either accidental or intentional. In both circumstances, safety of people counts. This essay will therefore discuss about the ways how the number of injuries and deaths can be reduced by careful selection of materials in the construction of buildings. Materials such as concrete, clay bricks, gypsum plasterboard, steel, wood and glass can now be used as fire resistant for longer period of time. However, these materials must be reinforced so that they can prevent a fire from spreading further, at least for some time. This essay will discuss about the behaviour of these materials. It will also include ways of how they can be improved. However, it will not talk about safety devices such as fire sprinklers, heat and smoke detectors or fire doors. As these cost a lot, they are only used in multi-storey buildings and not in domestic houses. Concrete Concrete is used in building for several reasons which are normally to speed up construction, for architectural appearance and even because it costs less. However, the main benefit of using concrete in the construction of houses and buildings is its fire fighting feature. ...read more.


Complete dehydration occurs at an approximate temperature of 210 oC - 300 oC. This process is called calcination. It is very dangerous as the gypsum will tend to crack. Hence, glass fibre and vermiculite are used to provide a much better resistance to fire. Glass fibre tends to expand when exposed to high temperatures. The role of vermiculite is to lowers the rate of calcination. Thus, this process prevents the plasterboard from shrinking and gives it more strength. These addictives can help to save many people from getting injured or losing life during a fire. Steelwork www.crosbie-casco.co.uk/crosbie/i/largesite.jpg Unprotected steelwork normally reduces its strength by half when subjected to temperatures of 500 o C - 550 o C. Therefore, it is very vulnerable to fire. Steel is also known for its good thermal conductivity, which is a very dangerous property when a fire breaks in a building. However, steel is vital in construction. To sort out the problem of conductivity, steel structural assemblies are protected by insulating materials. Other structural materials such as brick or concrete can be used; however this is a very expensive method. The most commonly used insulator is intumescent paints. These are available in liquid form and are usually sprayed using airless spray equipment. Smaller areas are rolled or brushed. Only a thin layer is to provide insulation and they are durable materials. ...read more.


These are ceramic glasses and normal glasses which are conducted with protective treatments such as vinyl film sun shades and aluminium foil. The application of aluminium foil in the exterior panel of glass is a very effective treatment, as the shiny surface of the aluminium foil reflects the radiant heat, hence keeping the window relatively cool. Compared to aluminium foil, ceramic and vinyl glasses are not that effective. They can nevertheless be used for windows in the upper floors of buildings. Conclusion Hence, for the maintenance of safety during a fire, fire - resisting materials should be used either in their natural or reinforced form. Construction materials such as concrete, clay bricks, gypsum plasterboard, steel, timber or wood, plastic or glass must be thoroughly used. Also some of these stuffs such is timber as quite costly, however when the question on safety arises, someone's life is seemed to be more precious than these materials. Thus, taking all these materials and their fire-resisting properties into account, they must be used in the construction of buildings as they provide adequate safety. Reference List: * B. H. Jones, Performance of Gypsum Plasterboard Assemblies Exposed to Real Building Fires, University of Canterbury. * A.C Parnell and E.G Butcher, Smoke Control in Fire Safety Buildings, E. & F. N. Spon, 1979. * G J Langdon-Thomas, Fire Safety In Buildings Principle and Practice, A. & C. Black,1972. * Malhotra H.L, Design of Fire -Resisting Structures, Surrey University Press, 1982. * W. Grosshandler, Fire Resistance Determination and Performance Prediction Research Needs Workshop: Proceedings, 2002. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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