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Steel is a naturally fire resistant material. This is why steel buildings perform very well in cases of fire. However, despite the fact that steel is a durable non-combustible material, its mechanical properties still deteriorate under extremely high temperatures. Does this mean that steel will melt in a fire? Well, yes, and no.


Unprotected steel buildings would require a temperature of at least 1100°F or 593°C for the steel to lose 50% of its strength and stiffness at ambient conditions. 

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At 1300°F or 704°C, its strength and stiffness are reduced to 20% of its ambient value while at 2200°F or 1204°C, there is total depletion of strength and stiffness. So the answer is yes, steel may melt in a fire, but no, it probably will not happen simply because building fires do not generate a high enough temperature to melt steel.


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Even though steel is fire-resistant, this does not mean that it is unnecessary to take precautionary measures to protect steel buildings in cases of fire. So how do you protect steel from fire? Steel fire protection materials generally function in one of three ways: purely insulating, energy absorbing, or intumescent.


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