At York University, our fire research team studies heritage materials and their response to fire. Our focus has been to consider timber and masonry. Doing these studies we are in the midst of preparing revised international guidance for these important structures. More recently the events in Paris have emphasized why this is such a serious topic of research to consider. For the last two years we have focused our efforts to really understanding timber performance, and we have done this by procuring real materials (columns, beams etc) from structures undergoing renovation (adaptive re-use) or sadly demolition. The importance of this study is now even more profound given this weeks events.
Dr. Gales will be chairing the Workshop on Advancements in Evaluating the Fire Resistance of Structures to be held Thursday December 6th and Friday December 7th, 2018. This workshop is sponsored by ASTM Committee E05 on Fire Standards and will be held at the Washington Hilton in Washington, DC, in conjunction with the December standards development meetings of the committee. The workshop will celebrate the centennial of the furnace temperature-time curve, which defines the thermal fire exposure conditions in ASTM E119 and other fire resistance test standards.
Members of our team attended the SFPE fire conference in Hawaii last week. Team member Hailey Quiquero gave a fantastic presentation on modelling timber structures in fire from a FEM point of view. Her work is a collaboration with the University of Canterbury. Dr. Gales gave a presentation regarding steel connections based on team alumni Matt Smith’s work as he could not make the conference.
Our Timber research was recently published in a conference paper presented at ASFE. The paper that describes our team’s work before 2016 can be downloaded here.
Since that above paper, and last year, our research team have undertaken four new and novel Timber based projects to expand knowledge in this research area as we relocate to York University.
Our 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 here) was 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.
Very 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 .
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
The MGM Grand Fire occurred on November 21st 1980. It represents a significant case study in the study of Human Behavior in fire as well as for smoke dynamics. About 87 people were killed in this fire. Recently I had a chance to visit and talk to certain staff members at the current building over 35 years later. There are many rumors associated to the fire today but I thought a visual representation is quite telling when you compare the building to other hotels on the strip in Las Vegas. Most people are completely unaware that the building is still standing today.
Ive included some more recent photos herein. To many who visit the current building there is not much remembrance to the fire that is obvious to the casual pedestrian walking by. If you search really hard there really isn’t a plaque talking about the fire that is visible. However there are many reminders present if you look carefully as the included imagery resonates. The patrons are oblivious to what happened for the most part., although some online do contend the buildings haunting and unusual activities – though i dont advise talking about these stories within the building or near by as many are sensitive to these types of stories. Images posted for reflection to those keen on our disciplines history.
Ill talk more on this at a later date.
Our team is very excited to be travelling to the Interflam conference this year. There we will be presenting 4 papers in posters and oral presentations. Papers have primarily been led by students on the team and involve a great and diverse set of collaborators. The conference is this July 4th through 6th in the UK. In no order a brief description of each is below:
Design For Elderly Egress In Fire Situations. By Folk, L., Gales, J., Gwynne, S., Kinsey, M.
The paper represents a follow up to our Human Behavior in Fire Symposium paper last fall. The work deals with aging populations and evacuation modelling. It is a lead on to a new grant from NSERC Canada in collaboration with Arup.
Behaviour of Char Layer in Fire-Damaged Box Section Timber Beams. By Quiquero, H., Gales, J., and Hadjisophocleous, G
The work is the product of a NSERC student scholar’s research by Quiquero and is a follow on to her Canadian Society of Civil Engineers study on mechanics of Timber beams after exposure from severe temperature exposure., That will be presented this month.
Improving Fire Safety Of Glass Fibre Reinforced Polymers For Bridge Infrastructures. By Gales, J., Nagy, N., Weckman., B., Gaudreault, C., and Smith, H.
The work is based on a novel materials in fire collaboration between the University of Waterloo and Carleton University. Thoughts and insights into improving fire performance of composite polymers are discussed.
Post-fire Guidance for the Critical Temperature of Prestressing Steel. By Roberston, L., and Gales, J.
This work follows my steel in fire forum presentation that illustrated that post fire guidance given about the strength of prestressing steel after fire, may be in need of revision. Results of over 100 tests are used to support these preliminary conclusions.
The conference should be an exciting time this July to present these papers, see other’s studies and catch up with old colleagues from across the ‘pond’. Other conference updates will be posted soon.
A new book will be published by Springer titled; Structural Fire Performance of Contemporary Post-tensioned Concrete Construction. The book is available now. You can now order or download it here . The book features:
- A follow up to my highly cited Fire Safety Journal 2011 literary review paper – doubling the amount of tests analyzed;
- New insights on bonded post-tensioned concrete construction;
- Concise account of three large scale multi span post-tensioned concrete floor high temperature tests;
- Updated five phased deflection theory on post-tensioned concrete continuous members in fire; and
- New evidence regarding the origins of the standard fire test and discussion regarding that test’s relevancy to unbonded post-tensioned concrete construction.
The book aims to provide raw and valuable test data (restraint, tendon stress, slab temperatures, deflection etc.) from the three large scale tests fire tests on post-tensioned concrete. This information will be useful for structural design firms and researchers interested in understanding concrete structural systems in fire.
Developed based on my internationally recognized doctoral thesis (improving and expanding on portions from: chapter 2 – literary review and chapter 5- large scale testing of concrete slabs), the book represents a balanced and essential overview of the subject. Other chapters and portions of that thesis are being developed for publication elsewhere (future post to come).
The book was copy-edited by a communications intern on my research team and co-authored by the University of Edinburgh’s Luke Bisby. Our goal was to create a highly accessible book for entry undergrad students to senior engineers.