News

Best Paper at IfireSS in Naples Italy

Pool fire testOur research team traveled to Naples Italy to attend the IfireSS conference. Ben Nicoletta presented his paper to a  keen audience. The paper, Performance of Gfrp stay-in- place Form work for Bridge Dec ks after Real and Simulated Fire Damage (download herewas an interesting work with collaboration from University of Waterloo and Queen’s University. It is a preliminary study which we are currently developing into a larger project. Ben’s hard work paid off and he won best paper at the conference. Currently Ben is interning in a joint research collaboration with the global consultancy firm Entuitive (via graduate Matt Smith). Ben was supported at the conference by research team students Hailey Todd and Chloe Jeanneret. Chloe is performing an internship with Dr. Guillermo Rein’s Haze Lab at Imperial College and the trip was not too far for her. Hailey is working on stadium design.

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Ben receives his Best Paper award, and we pose for a group photo outside the venue.
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With any conference the social program was great. We were able to explore many archaeology sites in Naples., here Hailey uses a selfie stick the way it was meant to be used, peaking behind a closed gate to look at a 2000 year old stairwell!

Fire and Materials Journal

Fire and materials 3Very exciting to announce that effective this year I am joining John Wiley’s journal, Fire and Materials as an Associate Editor. In this role I will be considering mainly the structural materials papers. Fire and Materials is one of the more older peer reviewed journals for our research community beginning in 1976. The journal is led by Steven Grayson. More information is to come on this initiative. For now be sure to check out my own Fire and Materials paper on the Creep of Prestressing steel which can be downloaded here .

GFRPs, Heritage Timber, Education, Sustainable Concretes, Performance Based Fire, New Instruments and More!

Summer conferences

We have an exciting two weeks ahead. The research team will be visiting 4 conferences in the coming weeks to present 6 presentations. In addition we will have a 7th presented at ASFE and this will be announced at a later date. The below are brief descriptions of each. Open access versions will appear at a later date.

CSCE Symposium in Vancouver (May 31st to June 3rd)

Mass Heritage Timber Performance in Fire presented by Arlin Otto. The paper looks at a comparison of timber performance in fire of three unique types of timbers. The paper will also discuss adhesive bleeding seen in LVL panels .

Visiting the 911 Memorial in New York

WTCOn April 22nd, as part of a break from school at the end of the term, I took in the 911 Memorial Museum in New York. Not the most uplifting story to hear on a vacation, but a place I have been meaning to visit for years. I felt the museum to be very tasteful and a very important learning piece for those to learn what exactly happened that day (but ill argue understanding is different word to use here and a word I do not think we ever will be able to associate to that day). I feel it so important that people do be aware, today’s students that i teach, were far to young to know a world pre 911, they grew up in a different world. And from that the observations that you can learn visiting are just so much more important. The museum allows you to see quite a bit in terms of artifacts (fire trucks, and even the original foundations of the the tower). But it does educate what happened.

Ending the Winter with four NSERC USRA Awards, Two Graduate Scholarships, Best Professor award, EWB lecture…

Our research team received four NSERC USRA scholarships this summer (up from two last summer). The students (Natalie, Ben, Chloe and Seth) with these scholarships will study a variety of projects from Modelling pedestrian flow, timber design, to studying travelling fires with our international and national collaborators. These national awards at Carleton are given to undergraduate students who are excelling academically and have an interest to pursue further graduate studies.

Our graduate students Hailey Q won an Ontario Graduate Student Award, and so too did Matthew Smith as he recently won the SFPE National Capital Region Chapter Scholarship for Fire Safety Engineering for his thesis and these results are currently being distributed through the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction. In addition Arlin won Provost Scholar. In total the research team received about 36k in scholarships this past month.

The Next Tallest Building in San Francisco

The Salesforce Tower will soon be completed and overtake the Pyramid as San Francisco’s newest and tallest building. I had a great oppertuinity to take a stroll through the construction area early this month and decided to highlight a few aspects of what i learnt and saw.

To me when i see cities like this, i am filled with creative inspiration. Its very easy to predict what the future skyline of San Francisco will look like. Where the tall buildings will appear (note that for now special planning approval must be given in San Fran), where the heritage will be conserved etc.

Engineered Timber and Fire

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The Fire and Materials Conference will be held this February in San Francisco USA.

We have two papers being presented by students at this year’s Fire and Materials Conference in San Francisco:

  • Comparing timber adhesive shear strength properties after fire damage 
  • Laminated veneer lumber plated connections in fire

Engineered timber is built up using adhesives. These adhesives tend to begin to break down at temperatures around 200C. The first paper presented will represent an critical evaluation of adhesive break down from heat beyond

Defining the Future of Fire Safety Engineering in Canada

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Matt Smith successfully defended his research thesis on Steel in fire with no required revisions and was nominated for a university senate medal.

Research team member, Matthew Smith, and Engineer at global consulting firm, Entuitive, successfully defended his masters thesis: Towards a Performance-Based Fire Design Framework for Composite Steel Deck Construction in Canada . His thesis and defense were of the highest quality that there were no corrections necessary. Matt was subsequently  nominated for the university’s senate medal (he has also just been awarded the SFPE National Capital Region Chapter Scholarship in Fire Safety Engineering in Canada for his work. A big thank you to his examiners whom I would say have a combined experience of over 60 years practicing steel construction. Also a big thank you to project sponsors: CISC and Entuitive, as well as to reps from FM Global and the National Research Council, NIST for their previous feedback and contributions.

Our Human Behavior and Fires work continues to grow at PED16

Fire strategies and design must account for and incorporate this human behavior. Human behavior is complex and multi-faceted and requires a reduction in uncertainties. If the designed building can show a validated and verifiable fire strategy that takes into account a level of predictable human behavior, the possibilities for improved performance based fire design in structures and infrastructure is possible. Human behavior and the interactions between humans and their built environment is a critical concept that may be beneficial to incorporate into standard engineering curriculum. It would be a valuable asset for emerging engineers to have a more complete and considerate perspective when conceptualizing the building designs of the future.-

except from our paper “The Study of Human Behavior in Fire Safety Engineering using Experiential Learning” presented at the Canadian Engineering Education Conference last June.

For the last two years at Carleton, I have been growing a research and education programme which touches on the above engineering need under the direct guidance and collaboration of renowned experts in this field. To date I now have four students studying this topic ranging from aging populations, to considerations of heritage, and mass occupancy. We are developing unique software tools, and improving education of the topic in Canada.

It is great pleasure that one of our recent papers will be presented at the  8th International Conference on Pedestrian and Evacuation Dynamics (PED2016) in China. The work builds on MassMotion, a software utilized to help engineer structures plan and study for the behaviour of individuals, the paper and work can be found on Oaysis softwares’ blog here.

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Utilizing Oasys MassMotion Software, through an NSERC Engage Grant with Arup Toronto, my research team with its collaborators have been studying aging populations. Our preliminary results are being presented this month  at the PED16 Conference in China.

The coming weeks will be very exciting to where this topic will go on the research team.

After 15 years….

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Its been about 15 years since the events of September 11th. I remember the day very clearly still. Reflecting on how much has changed since that day in society and our built environment is staggering. While visiting NIST this summer I had the opportunity to do some of this reflection. Largely a lot of the structural work being done there is to aim to improve the safety of our buildings. Outside their new fire lab they have preserved steel pieces from that day in a memorial. If you want to read more about the structural and human behavioral analysis of the events from that day the journal Fire Technology has a really comprehensive issue from 2013 which is a very enlightening read.

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Overall view of a steel section from the frame of the building
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This is a steel section from the impact zone