There is a belief, within the fire research community, that high strength concrete is more susceptible to explosive spalling than normal strength concrete. This impression is based on studying concrete properties and collecting experimental data from different research sources. But there are still doubts about the credibility of this conjecture due to the lack of integrated experimental research, particularly designed to address this issue. This paper represents the outcomes of experimental study involving normal and high strength concrete columns tested under fire. The columns were subjected to a constant load and to different values of axial restraint. The paper attempts to address the question of the susceptibility of normal and high strength concrete to explosive spalling under fire. Copyright (C) 2002 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.