As you all know Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) recently got a BIS licence to manufacture India’s first fire resistant steel structure at its unit in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh. This licence will allow the company to manufacture BIS 15103 grade structural steel that is designed to withstand temperatures up to 600°C.
What is a fire resistant steel structure?
A fire resistant steel structure is either made using a special kind of steel or by applying fireproofing methods to the structures. In India fire resistant steel is assigned the grade BIS 15103 and is currently being imported to manufacture fire resistant steel structures in India.
What is fire resistance?
Fire resistance is a measure of the ability of the structure to resist collapse, fire spread, and other failures during exposure to a fire of a certain severity.
Fire resistance of steel structures is becoming increasingly important as steel frames often form the backbone of large buildings like apartment complexes and high-rise offices and hotels.
When steel is exposed to temperatures of 500°C and above, its structural integrity and stability is placed at risk. Building fires often tend to reach temperatures above 800°C. While steel starts to melt at 1300°C, it starts to soften at around 425°C. It loses half of its strength once it reaches 650°C.
Steel beams and columns with fire resistant technology can reduce the risk of the frame weakening and slow down the spread of fire. According to JSPL, the BIS 15103 grade steel can withstand fire for up to 3 hours. This gives ample time to rescue the occupants in the building and for the firefighting services to control the fire.
Can India make fire resistant steel structures?
JSPL has now become the pioneer for making BIS 15103 fire resistant steel. This means that other players of the Indian steel industry will gradually start obtaining licences to produce fire resistant steel.
Fire resistant properties are obtained by modifying the chemical composition of steel by adding certain alloying elements including carbon, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, vanadium, etc. This increases not only the high-temperature strength of steel but also its weldability.
India is already one of the top 5 manufacturers of steel in the world. Indian steel companies including Tata Steel, JSPL, JSW Steel Limited, Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL), etc., have advanced technologies to manufacture various grades of steel.
Since the market for fire resistant steel structures will increase, the Indian steel industry will soon witness more companies obtaining BIS licences to produce fire-resistant steel. Once large-scale production of fire-resistant steel starts, the construction sector can easily leverage this to create fire resistant steel structures.