2018 -19 NSERC and OGS Scholarship winners announced! And other news…

Toronto
As we are about to begin the summer term at York University, we have a number of news items to share.

  • We have had significant investment in our student’s research this week with over 50K in scholarships awarded to team members. Our undergraduate research team won four NSERC USRA awards. Last year we also had four awards. Team members were awarded two Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS) and one NSERC CGS graduate research awards this year. Congrats to Ben, Bronwyn, Chloe and Hannah.
  • Our team is visiting the 12th International Performance-Based Codes and Fire Safety Design Methods will be held in Honolulu, Oahu, April 23-27. Papers to be presented are:
    • Quiquero, H., Gales, J. et al. Finite Element Modelling of Post-Tensioned Timber Beams under Fire Conditions.
    • Smith, M., and Gales, J.  Connection Behaviour in Contemporary Canadian Buildings Subjected to Real Fires.
  • We also will be presenting two papers at this years Structures in Fire conference in Ulster UK June 6-8th. Papers to be presented are:
    • Dahli, R., Gillie, M., and Gales, J. (June 2018) Modelling Non-metallic Timber Connections in Fire.
    • Jeanneret, C., Gales, J., Kostivnos, P, and Rein G. (June 2018) Design of Post tensioned Concrete Structures Exposed to Travelling Fires.
  • Natalie Mazur, returns to our team this summer to work on an engineering education project of retention of women in engineering. This aligns with the 50/50 initiative at York University. Her preliminary results will be presented this May at York University, and in June at the Canadian Engineering Education Association Conference in Vancouver.
  • Our graduate course on Human Behavior in Fires continues this June.  Click here for details. This is our third iteration of this course. You can read about learning objectives in a previous CEEA. The course was formerly taught at Carleton, but will now be offered to a larger consultancy pool in the GTA area. We will also introduce forensic investigation into the curriculum this year.
  • Our team slightly expands as two of our undergrad researchers become graduate researchers, Bronwyn and Ben. They will be studying timber and bridge fires respectfully. We are planning to advert a new graduate position in the coming months.
  • Announcements will be made shortly regarding four new industrial collaborations which aim to give graduate students on our team opportunities to engage with consultancy companies on industry related challenges in fire safety engineering.
  • We are working with collaborators on a new Springer book tentatively titled: Fire Resistance Assessment of Heritage Structures . This should appear by years end.
  • Dr. Gales was asked to speak on CTV news regarding house fires in winter. A clip of this interview is provided below:

Timber Structure Fire Test

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.

Research News for December 2017

Its been a busy few months. We gear up for the York University move in January. Our recent news includes:

Our team has won a number of recent research awards. Lauren Folk (now a graduate student on our team) won the Adjeleian Allen Rubeli Award Best undergraduate thesis 2017 at Carleton this fall. Her work is a collaboration with ARUP Fire that studied care home evacuation. We received three undergraduate research scholarships to study: Poverty in Canada, Timber in fire and GFRPs.

Grenfell

Carleton student Chloe Jeanneret visiting Imperial College and research team alumni and now ARUP Intern Arlin Otto were able to visit Grenfell Tower after the fire in July.

A lot will be said in the coming months, if not years regarding the fire seen at Grenfell. The few things Id say, is that cladding fires are not the only challenge we face in the community of fire engineering. Tunnels, Developing countries, Wild fires, New building materials, Risk based methodologies, etc., and I can go on, are all areas for the last decade we as a community have been stating require additional attention – many are receiving attention.

Heritage Timber, Tree Rings, and Fire

Post and beam
Slow burning timber construction methods  circ. 1890

The past few days we have been sorting through the structures lab after the end of the last academic year. Among the materials which we were indexing and storing were the heritage timbers that we tested for the CSCE paper (posted below). The timbers were installed in a heritage building built approximately in 1890 or so. In a retrofit of a building they were removed. We tested the timber beam first in structural loading. The beam was tested for our second year undergrads to see. Then we extracted two planks from the timber as it only had moderate damage for flame spread testing (to be compared to modern engineered lumber of the same moisture content). Since then the planks have sat. Looking at the timbers myself and Mina Li, opted to count the tree rings this week to estimate the timbers age yesterday. Relating to Canada’s 150 we were in for a bit of a shock.  

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.

Naples
Ben receives his Best Paper award, and we pose for a group photo outside the venue.
Naples 2
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.