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Fire Dynamics, Material Flammabillity, Computer Modelling of Fire Phenomena

   Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment

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  Dr J Zhang, Dr S Choi, Dr Svetlana Tretsiakova-McNally  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Fire dynamics and material flammability are important research areas within the fire safety engineering (FSE) in identifying and understanding the mechanisms related to the degradation, ignition and burning of materials and subsequent the fire spread and development with the ultimate goal to improve fire safety (people and structure) in buildings and other spaces.  Fire dynamics and material flammability are closely related as studying the degradation and flammability of a material allows the evaluation of its fire performance, whereas understanding the fire dynamics of that material can contribute to the fine tuning of the material properties to make it more fire safe/resistant.

Research on fire dynamics and material flammability can be based on experimental testing, numerical analysis of heat transfer, and/or numerical modelling with advanced computer models, which allows the investigation of ignition, burning, fire development and smoke movement with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and thermal responses and behaviour of structural elements under fire conditions using finite element analysis (FEA).

The successful candidate will work in a multi-disciplinary research team on areas related to material flammability, thermal degradation and burning behaviours of materials used in modern building, construction and aviation industries, fire dynamics and smoke movement in compartment and facade fires. For experimental testing, the student will avail of the-state-of-the-art experimental facility at the FireSERT centre, which consists of a suite of high-precision thermal analytical instruments for detailed measurements of thermal degradation of milligram samples, meso-scale testing of material flammability and fire behaviour using the standard apparatus including cone calorimeter,tube furnace, rheometer and customised experimental rigs for enclosure and façade fires.

The research environment also includes wet chemistry provisions for syntheses of flame-retardant polymers and a range of spectroscopic techniques for characterisation of novel formulations and materials. The FireSERT laboratory is also equipped with single burning item (SBI), an indicative furnace (1.5m x 1.5m x 1.5m) and a full-scale ISO standard furnace, which will allow large-scale compartment and façade fire tests as well as evaluation of fire performance of structure elements.

In terms of numerical modelling, the student will utilise the latest computer software based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and/or finite element analysis (FEA) with the aim to increase current understanding of the important phenomena in fire. These models will be validated against data in the literature, existing experimental data available at FireSERT and/or new data which will be obtained in this project.

The supervisors have all necessary and complementary expertise and have published widely in international journals and conferences in the areas of synthesis and development of novel fire retardants, evaluation of materials properties and burning behaviours of polymer nanocomposites, wood and insulation materials, fire dynamics and compartment and façade fires as well as computer modelling of fire related phenomena. The supervisors also collaborate widely with universities, research institutions and industry, both nationally and internationally. The research will involve a wide range of disciplines including engineering, chemistry, mathematics, and computer engineering.  The diversity of this research theme means that the student will potentially cross these disciplines.

The successful candidate would be expected to have an undergraduate or master degree in Chemistry, Engineering, Mathematics or a related discipline.

The student will have the opportunity to collaborate with national and international research groups in various research areas highlighted in the Research Summary through research projects in which the supervisors are involved.


[1].Asimakopoulou, E.K., Chotzoglou, K.E., Kolaitis, D., Zhang, J., Delichatsios, M.A., Numerical investigation of externally venting flame characteristics in a corridor-façade configuration (2019) Fire Safety Journal, 110.
[2].Chotzoglou, K.E., Asimakopoulou, E.K., Zhang, J., Delichatsios, M.A. An experimental investigation of burning behaviour of liquid pool fire in corridor-like enclosures (2019) Fire Safety Journal, 108.
[3].Ren, F., Hu, L., Zhang, X., Sun, X., Zhang, J., Delichatsios, M. Experimental study of transitional behavior of fully developed under-ventilated compartment fire and associated facade flame height evolution (2019) Combustion and Flame, 208, pp. 235-245
[4].Suzanne, M., Ramani, A., Ukleja, S., McKee, M., Zhang, J., Delichatsios, M.A., Patel, P., Clarke, P., Cusack, P. Fire performance of brominated and halogen-free flame retardants in glass-fiber reinforced poly(butylene terephthalate) (2018) Fire and Materials, 42 (1), pp. 18-27.
[5].Zhang, X., Lin, Y., Shi, C., Zhang, J., Numerical simulation on the maximum temperature and smoke back-layering length in a tilted tunnel under natural ventilation, (2021) Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology, 107, art. no. 103661.
[6].Tretsiakova-McNally, S., Le Douarin, A., Joseph, P. & Arun, M. Passive fire protection of Taeda Pine wood by using starch-based surface coatings. Polymers, 2021, 13(21), 3841.
[7].Aqlibous, A., Tretsiakova-McNally, S. & Fateh, T. Waterborne intumescent coatings containing industrial and bio-fillers for fire protection of timber materials. Polymers, 2020, 12, 757.
[8].Thomas, A., Joseph, P., Moinuddin, K. A. M., Zhu, H. & Tretsiakova-McNally, S., Thermal and calorimetric evaluations of some chemically modified carbohydrate-based substrates with phosphorus-containing groups. Polymers, 2020, 12 (3), 588.
[9].Thomas, A., Moinuddin, K. A. M., Tretsiakova-McNally, S. & Joseph, P. A Kinetic analysis of the thermal degradation behaviours of some bio-based substrates. Polymers, 2020, 12(8), 1830.
[10].Baby A, Tretsiakova-McNally S, Arun M, Joseph P, Zhang J. Reactive and additive modifications of styrenic polymers with phosphorus-containing compounds and their effects on fire retardance. Molecules, 2020, 25(17), 3779.
[11].Lim, O.K., Choi, S., Kang, S., Kwon, M., Choi, J.Y., Fire performance of headed shear studs in profiled steel sheeting, (2020) 164,.
[12].Kang, S., Kwon, M., Choi, J.Y., Choi, S., Thermal boundaries in cone calorimetry testing, (2019) 9 (10).
[13].Lim, O.K., Choi, S., Kang, S., Kwon, M., Choi, J.Y., Experimental studies on the behaviour of headed shear studs for composite beams in fire, (2019) 32 (6), pp. 743-752.
[14].Kang, S., Choi, J.Y., Choi, S., Mechanism of heat transfer through porous media of inorganic intumescent coating in cone calorimeter testing, (2019) 11 (2).
[15].Kang, S., Choi, S., Choi, J.Y., Coupled thermo-physical behaviour of an inorganic intumescent system in cone calorimeter testing, (2017) 35 (3), pp. 207-234.

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