Welcoming new Building Technology students

It was a pleasure to welcome the new students to the Building Technology Master’s programme. Simo (program director) gave the introductory lecture. After that the students had orientation orienteering around the department, during which Kai told them about FSE, and Rahul and Umar presented their thesis projects.


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Visit to Imperial College London

Dr. Kaiyuan Li visited the HazeLab (Fire) group in Imperial College London under the support from COST Action FP1404 and gave a lecture on modeling pyrolysis of charring materials.



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Dr. Kaiyuan Li Joined the2nd Conference for Fire Science and protection of Special buildings and structures on 22 to 24th July 2016, in Chongqing, China and the 36th International Symposium on Combustion COEX, Seoul, Korea, July 31 – August 5, 2016

Dr. Kaiyuan Li attended these two conferences and gave a talk on FDS in Chongqing and presented a paper co-authored with Simo on Char cracking in Seoul.

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New doctoral student position in computational thermal radiation

We are looking for a new enthusiastic member to our team to develop the computational methods for thermal radiation in fires.

It was year 2000 when I was sent from VTT to work as a guest researcher at NIST/BFRL. Within the next year (2000-2001) we wrote, with Dr. Kevin McGrattan, a Finite Volume Method (FVM) -based solver for the thermal radiation to the Fire Dynamics Simulator. FVM is quite similar to the more commonly used Discrete Ordinates Method (DOM). That piece of code has served the fire safety engineers and researchers pretty well over the fiveteen years. Of course, a number of people have contributed to that code since that, but the main body code and the model formulation are still the same.

Limitations and problems have been observed over the years. For instance, the ray effect is a problem for the long-distance calculation as it makes the radiative heat fluxes very non-uniform due to the numerical issues. And so is the relatively clumsy spectral modelling option, which enforces most of us to do gray gas calculations even in the cases where the spectral band -nature of the gas emission and absorption makes a difference. And the recent experiences indicate that the accurate calculation of radiation penetration into the liquid pool requires spectral resolution.

So, there is work to do. See the announcement at http://www.aalto.fi/en/about/careers/jobs/view/899/.


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Nordic Fire and Safety Days in Copenhagen

Simo, Rahul, and Kai-Yuan Li attended the NFSD 2016 conference last week in Copenhagen. Simo and Rahul gave presentations on the PAHAHUPA project (pressure maanagement), and Kai about char cracking experiments and modelling.

The conference was very well organized – thanks to Anne Dederichs of SP and team at Aalborg University. It seemed very valuable to have an opportunity for Nordic networking among fire researchers. The conference has an aim to be a mix of fire and other safety topics, but at least this time, the most of the topics dealt with fire. In coming years, I would hope to see more authorities and people from ministries and funding bodies to attend. I think they should follow the topics popping up in this kind of events.

Aalborg_venue Simo_and_Rahul_at_NFSD2016

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New doctoral students joined the team


Deepak Paudel joined the Fire Safety Engineering research group as a doctoral student. His research project will focus on the fire barrier performance analyses and the evaluation of modelling uncertainties in buildings and nuclear power plants. He received his MSc in mechanical engineering from Aalto School of Engineering. Deepak was originally from Nepal.

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Teacher’s thoughts after the Fire simulation -course

Alltogether 14 students passed the Fire simulation -course this spring. The course was about fire and evacuation simulations, focusing on the simulation technology.

Congratulations to all our active students!

In the final project of the course, the students had to perform a fire and evacuation analysis of Aalto University’s new building, called Väre. Actually, just the part of the building which contained the lecture halls and large atrium. The project works were evaluated based on the technical aspects of the simulations, reporting quality and critical assessment of the results. The actual analysis outcomes, such as fire conditions or evacuation times, were not really evaluated, as I did not have a ‘correct answer’ to provide. Also, as we did not really cover the performance based design process in this course, the students were on pretty much on their own when making the modelling decisions.

However, I thought it would be interesting to see how the results are distributed. The figure below shows a summary of ASET vs. RSET values extracted from the students’ reports. What surprised me, was the fact that the scattering in the fire simulation results, i.e. the ASET value, was so large. OK, among the results there are some that included a clear error in fire specification. But anyway, I would have expected that the scattering would be more in the evacuation simulation results.

As a teacher, this was a very valuable exercise to me because it gives me a reference point when designing a future course about ‘Fire risk and evacuation analysis’, to be organized in fall 2017. Justification of fire scenarios, critical review of modelling decisions, and self-evaluation will become topics there.


Below some pictures of the simulation project, created by Marianna Kauriala.



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Research positions available in fire simulation

We have published open calls for following positions:
Doctoral Candidate in Simulation of Fire Barriers, deadline for the applications March 22nd, 2016:

Master thesis on the fire safety of the energy-efficient buildings (Aalto University students), deadline for the applications March 14th, 2016:

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Participation in COST Action FP1404 expert meeting on fire safe use of bio-based building materials

Dr. Kaiyuan Li has been invited together with 14 other European experts to the expert meeting on numerical simulation in terms of fire safe use of bio based building within COST Action FP1404 – Fire Safe Use of Bio-Based Building Product.

The two-day meeting was held at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering, on 25th and 26th of January 2016, Ljubljana, Slovenia. In the meeting, Dr. Kai gave a lecture entitled as “Modeling pyrolysis of medium density fibreboard-pyrolysis modeling present and future” to the participants.

15 experts from all over Europe participated in this Expert meeting and discussed the state of art, actual challenges and new approaches to deal with tasks related to different aspects of the fire safety of bio-based building products.

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 About COST FP1404 – Fire Safe Use of Bio-Based Building Products

Bio-based building products have a very long history, e.g. as timber structural members. Combustibility was the main reason why bio-based building materials were banned from many applications. When performance based design (PBD) became possible many building regulations opened the market for bio-based building products. However, large differences between regulations in countries exist and the use of combustible building products is still very limited.

This COST Action provides a platform for networking, exchange and collection of performance data, experiences, authority- and climate requirements which affect the design with respect to the Fire Safe Use of Bio-based Building Products. By systematically organization knowledge in this area will advance at a significant higher rate. The Action will Exchange researchers, organize Workshop and create comprehensive dissemination material.

The Action has three technical Working Groups (WGs) and a WG for Dissemination.

Chair of COST Action FP1404 is Joachim Schmid from Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, ETH Zurich.

Further information is available online (www.costfp1404.ethz.ch).

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Fire Safety Engineering at Aalto! is alive

Aalto! Fire Safety Engineering team is coming to life. Our current members are Simo Hostikka (Associate Professor), Kaiyuan Li (Research Fellow), Rahul Kallada Janardhan (Doctoral student), and Pekka Huhtala (Research Trainee).

We are part of the Aalto University’s Department of Civil Engineering.

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