What does the term ‘Flexible Wall’ mean? Passive Fire Protection terminology

Flexible wall is a vertical supporting construction consisting of studs or joists, including linings and optional insulation. The term is commonly used when referring to fire-rated plasterboard partition systems.

This type of wall is usually non-load bearing and its fire resistance performance has been determined according to the appropriate European standards. The reaction to fire performance of the exposed surfaces is also determined by the appropriate fire test standards. Requirements to determine the fire resistance and the reaction to fire performance of a partition are stated in current Building Regulations.

When a fire has become fully developed it attacks the structure of the compartment and attempts to spread beyond the origin. A fire-rated partition prevents this by creating a structure that does not collapse and contains the fire for a given period of time. It is necessary to determine the fire resistance of the partition by assessing its behaviour when subjected to defined heating and pressure conditions that can be encountered in a fully developed fire.

Fire resistance tests employ a standard temperature/time curve and pressure distribution for this purpose with the resistance of such partitions range from 30 to 240 minutes or more.

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