IMFSE Fire Safety Engineering Day

As it happens every year, IMFSE students attend 2 interesting events during the second semester in Lund. By pure coincidence, this year both events took place right here, in Lund, which made it super easy for us to attend them.

First one was the IMFSE Management Board meeting, which consisted of two very important parts. First of all, our student representatives shared the results of the surveys we recently filled in – regarding our experiences, thoughts and suggestions about the first semester, both in Gent and Edinburgh. The discussion was very important and meaningful and will surely be helpful for both universities to improve in the future even more!

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In the second part, our IMFSE professors Bart Merci, Grunde Jomaas and Patrick Van Hees gave us a first overview of available master thesis topics. Both full and associated partner institutes offer some alluring topics, so the decision will definitely be tough but interesting!

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Next day was reserved for the 3rd IMFSE FSE Day. The central theme of the day was ‘’Sustainability and Fire Safety Engineering’’. As expected, the day was full of interesting lectures held by renowned experts from various prestigious companies (ARUP, BRE, FESG, PROMAT and KINGSPAN) and a lecture held by a professor from LTH.

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Lunch break provided time for the most important part of the day: networking! A lot of second year and alumni IMFSE students were present, as well as several experienced professionals and LTH PHD students and professors and mingling around and meeting all those people was a real pleasure. Sharing IMFSE experiences, making plans about the master thesis or even PHDs and discussing potential internship and job opportunities made this day really fruitful. Seeing how a lot of our older colleagues are having amazing careers all around the World motivates all of us greatly.

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In the afternoon, a panel discussion on the topic was held by all the lecturers and IMFSE consortium. The intent was that members of consortium discuss and debate how FSE and sustainability meet or conflict. It was a nice Q & A session for conclusion of this valuable day.

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The 3rd IMFSE FSE Day turned out to be very good and we are all looking forward to attending the 4th edition next year! In the mean time, we have an even bigger FSE event: this June, again by unbelievable coincidence, the biggest fire safety science symposium – 12th International Symposium on Fire Safety Science, will be hosted by Lund University. This event will certainly be very beneficial and it also represents one of the biggest reasons for looking forward to June and the beginning of summer!

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The Fourth semester started around the globe

Few weeks ago, all the 2nd year students settled down around the world to start their last semester and conduct their thesis research. From Australia all the way to North America, the IMFSE students were distributed on five different universities, based on their research interests.

Andres, Philipe, Nikhil, Christian and myself chose Ghent university for the fourth semester. I arrived back from my vacation in Egypt on the 21st of January and met Nikhil at gent Sint Pieters station, who kindly offered to help me with my language [btw it is always nice that wherever or whenever you go, you will find an IMFSE class mate offering to help you to settle down :)]. We waited for Andres for a couple of days to come back from Colombia and on the same day of his arrival, we all met for dinner at the university restaurant and then we had coffee with so many stories about our last semester and the last vacation.

On the 8th of February, It was my birthday and we decided to celebrate it by having burgers at Paul’s Boutique Burgers which consider one of the best in the city, Then we all went for coffee and desserts. It is always great to have close friends to celebrate these moments when you are far away from your family.

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David, Rohan,Martha, Jan and Francisco also started their semester at the beautiful snowy Lund!. It was so funny and interesting to see their pictures with snow and compare it with the pictures of Pascale and Nemer who are spending their semester at the sunny and hot Australia!

In this picture,Nemer is feeding his first Australian friend. Kangaroos are usually friendly but if you pester them, they can get really violent and act as an angry wrestler. Take care Nemer!

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Pasquale and Ain are still in Edinburgh and Veronica joined them by the end of last year. Now, the three of them actively started their semester and are having good-time there.

Max launched his thesis work and joined the university of Maryland`s fire group last month. Additionally, he celebrated the new Chinese year (The Rooster year) in Maryland and he was lucky enough to attend the best game in the season of the NBA between Washington Wizards and the Cleveland Cavaliers (135-140). Max shared the pictures of this match with us as well.  Enjoy the following slide show !!

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All in all, we are all busy with our thesis work right now…yet, in almost daily contact, sharing pictures, stories and jokes. This week we’ll gather together again, at the Fire Safety day in LUND, that should be extremely interesting. However, Nemer, Pascale and Max will be missed; as it will be too far for them to attend this day. On the other hand, there is a plan to have a group skype one day soon after the Fire Safety day, the only challenge will be to find the timing that suit everyone, whether in America, Australia or Europe!

Lund Cathedral

Although Lund is a small town, it has a rich history. It was founded around 990, and became cultural and religious center of this region. One of the main sightseeings in Lund is grand Lund Cathedral. Twin towers with pyramidical roofs are the major features of cathedral’s architecture. The university organized free guided tour to the cathedral where we found out about the history of the cathedral. Lund Cathedral is the oldest Metropolitan church in the Nordic regions,as it was built around XI-XII centuries. Cathedral has a number of artefacts including 7 century-old magnificent astrological clock, Horologium mirabili Lundense, which is still working. The clock chimes twice a day, and you can see rotating mechanical figures of three wise men and their servants passing and bowing before the figures of Virgin Mary and baby Jesus. Since the clock was built before heliocentric model was developed, in the upper part it is depicted that the Moon and the Sun circle the Earth. There is a calendar in the lower part of the clock, and you can find out weekday of any date. Oak choir stalls with craved figures illustrating the scenes from the Bible, imposing altar both dating from 14th century, and mosaic of the Resurrection on the apse vault are another historically important features of the cathedral.

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There is also a crypt with densely packed pillars where the oldest altar of the cathedral, numerous chests and grave slabs can be found. One pillar has a statue of a man embracing it, and according to a local legend, it is a figure of Giant Finn, who built the cathedral, but was fooled and tried to destroy it, and turned into a stone. The guided tour was very informative, as we found out so many interesting facts about the cathedral. I recommend everyone to visit this magnificent place with beautiful architecture and well-known artefacts.

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Across the Øresund

As the new week-end was approaching, and our schedule said we had Friday and Monday off, we knew it was time to continue exploring wonderful Scandinavia. This time, our destination was the capital of our dear bordering country Denmark, the colorful Copenhagen. A perfect coincidence was that ESN Lund (Erasmus Student’s Network) was organizing a pub crawl in Copenhagen, right on Saturday, when we wanted to travel anyway, so we were immediately accompanied by 40 new interesting people in our quest to Copenhagen!

Saturday 2 pm quickly arrived, and the trip was about to start! Just like in our Gothenburg excursion, the enormous amount of fog didn’t want to disappoint, and decided to come along, but nothing could spoil the positive vibes and fun so many students share 🙂 !

The day started with a 2 hour guided tour lead by a man called Martin. I guess nobody had high expectations, since we all are used to those boring ’’Wikipedia’’ guides, but this guy was something completely different. He was funny, interesting, telling stories from his own point of view, making jokes about the royal family, about the Swedes, and about Swedish – Danish ”love” in general, and along the way telling some super intriguing historical and politically cultural stories. Definitely a perfect way to start a weekend in a new city. The rest of the night was reserved for the long anticipated pub crawl and a party, which was also amazing, as famous ESN parties usually are.

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After a long, tiring night, and sufficient sleep, we were ready to continue exploring Copenhagen. Our first destination was the famous freetown of ’’Christiania’’. Its actually a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood completely independent of the Danish government. This controversial area is famous for a lot of things. First of all, although marijuana is illegal in Denmark, the citizens of Christiania decided to make it legal, and it’s a well known thing that over there it can be bought on the street, as simple as a bottle of water. The other thing that makes Christiania special is that it has around 850 inhabitants, mostly hippies, who have decided to live life outside the external ’’normal’’ world. Freetown Christiania is a mix of homemade houses, workshops, art galleries, music venues, cheap and organic eateries, and beautiful nature. All in all, this place was really something different, and left a huge impression on all of us.

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The rest of the day was reserved for another small tour of Copenhagen, guided this time by my dear Montenegrin – Danish friend Lena.

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The cold weather didn’t stop us from discovering the astonishing Copenhagen Opera House, the famous Nyhavn, the house of Hans Christian Andersen, than the ’’best restaurant in the World’’, and many other beautiful spots of Copenhagen. The day was too short to explore it all, but the night was reserved for something even more special. A jazz night in ’’La Fontaine’’ – the oldest Jazz clubs in Copenhagen, where even Lady Gaga performed once many years ago. It was a perfect way to end such a nice day in Copenhagen.

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The last day was reserved for a few more things Denmark is famous for. First of all one thing all kids as well as the many grown ups in the world adore – Lego! We spent much time inside the shop and had a lot of fun just watching all the beautiful toys, and reminding ourselves of our childhood.

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The next thing that we had to visit was of course, the trademark of Copenhagen, the little Mermaid statue. After it, one last thing was waited to be discovered. Since we had 3 Belgian guys in our crew, we couldn’t leave Copenhagen without trying the famous Danish beer. And to be honest, Mikkeler is doing quite a decent job in making some amazing beers!

Leaving Copenhagen was kind of hard, knowing how many beautiful things are still to be discovered in this extraordinary city, but luckily it is only an hour away from our Lund, so we (or at least I) will be back many many more times!

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IMFSE Thesis 2

Last blog I mentioned the main topics available usually for the IMFSE thesis, this time I will keep writing in the same series of blogs related to the thesis topics, choices and proposals.

To make it as simple as possible, I will talk a bit about every university, its specializations, labs, supervisors and co-operations with industry.

  1. Ghent University:

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Being the coordinator of the IMFSE and also due to its unique history in fire safety, Ghent University can offer a wide variety of topics both experimental and computational. However, Ghent is widely known with the computational topics; why not, when it hosts one of the most significant research groups doing fire modeling in Europe. Prof. Bart Merci `s group has many experts in the FDS and also the open foam- which is a bit challenging to learn compared to the FDS- . So, if the student has interest in doing computational fluid dynamics study in fire applications, he/she has to check the available topics at Ghent University.

Ghent also has excellent industrial ties, there is usually topics that are supervised by industrial promoters e.g ISIB fire, FPC and promat.

Example of the purely research based topics:

-CFD modeling of the interaction of smoke and water sprays

In this project, the student is expected to be confident about using the FDS. Typically, the IMFSE students will have a strong background about the FDS from the FDS course at Lund University. There should not be much basic problems to face the student while working on such topic. However, he/she should be able to widen his/her knowledge about some specific parts in the FDS; that will be definitely done under direct supervision from the promoter.

Back to the topic, the student should try to model the fire using hot air (smoke), which will highly affect the computational time. Then to study the penetration of a water spray through a smoke plume, spray cooling effect and influence on buoyancy.

Example of the industrial based topics:

-Modeling and scaled testing of large vehicles

The student shall characterize large vehicle fires and analysis their behavior in a confined space, such as tunnels. Small scale tests will be done at the virtual laboratory of promat and CFD validation at Ghent University. This is a typical validation project where the student can satisfy both his interest in experiments and modeling.

Ghent University offers other projects for example but not limited to:

  • Analysis of experimental data and FDS simulations elderly houses, with co-supervision from ISIB fire.
  • Fire risk analysis for petrochemical industry with co-supervision from FPC Belgium.
  • Structure-based projects like: the reinforced concrete resistance against chloride-induced corrosion with supervision from the civil engineering department at Ghent University.
  • Fundamental study of smoke extraction duct concepts in buildings.

To summarize, Ghent University can offer a wide variety of topics including; structures in fire, risk assessments, large and big scales experiments and of course CFD based projects.

  1. University of Edinburgh

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The university of Edinburgh has one of the best civil engineering departments in the UK, U of Edinburgh also is ranked the 24th in the world according to the times higher education world university ranking. Arup group, which is one of the main industrial sponsors of the IMFSE program, has its main office in the UK. Based on that, there is a variety of actively running projects between Arup and the fire/civil group at the University of Edinburgh.

The University of Edinburgh, hosts a big number of fire safety and structures in fire experts; there is also two multifunctional labs:

  1. The fire lab where the students can do unlimited number of fire-based experiments for example:

 

  • The cone calorimeter: used to study the fire and ignition behavior of various materials. It is an easy tool to measure the mass loss rate, the heat release rate and the time to ignition.
  • The large fume hood: used to conduct pool fire experiments, the fume hood is also attached to a fan to change the smoke layer and an analyzer for the combustion products analysis.
  • The furnace: It can be used to study the spontaneous ignition for different materials, which is also an interesting fire safety topic.

In the fire lab there are also all the needed welding tools, thermocouples, safety tools, a small crane that can be used for the small structure research work and cameras to film the ongoing experiments and can be used for analysis e.g flame height and the smoke layers. It also take some interesting pictures that could be used for nice lab memories 😉 !

  1. The structural lab, this lab is fully equipped with all the needed facilities to perform experiments on heavy structure elements like full scale column. At the structural lab there is a variety of heating panels that can help to conduct experiments on the concrete creep; Live and dead loads can be simulated by the hydraulic presses.

The University of Edinburgh has experts also in the computational fluid dynamics and can easily host students with interest in the FDS. Prof. Stephen welch who has many active projects on the development and validation of computer modeling methods for fire, will be the best one to discuss a FDS based thesis topic at the U of Edinburgh.

All in all, at the University of Edinburgh the students can have huge number of experimental options in addition to computational ones. Some of these projects are presented as the following:

  • Fire Investigations: this is a very interesting topic, Dr. Rory Hadden has so much experience in this topic from the previous cases done at the BRE center which could be found here here
  • Ignition in wild-fires and the environmental effects: this topic is also done by Dr. Hadden who has done his PhD at imperial college London and has great experience in pyrolysis, ignition and flammability.
  • Smoke and heat detection on a moving train: Dr. Ricky Carvel who is specialized in the interaction between fires and ventilation specially in tunnel fires, will be the ideal supervisor for such a topic, where the student will have to do literature review about fires in tunnels, quantify the fire on the train that needs to trigger the detection system and do a CFD study of air/smoke mixing.
  • Thermal and Mechanical Response of Structural Cables Subject to Fire: This is an industrial topic proposed and funded by Arup. Prof. Luke Bisby who is Arup professor of fire and structures will be the main supervisor with a co-promoter from Arup. The project aims to study the performance of high strength steel cables in fires and will involve both experimental and computational studies. It is also a non-missed chance for someone with interest in structural designs in fire to work closely with prof. Bisby and benefit from all his unique practical experience.
  • What are appropriate fire intensity measures for structural materials?, What are the mechanical and fuel loads that we are putting in our buildings?: two interesting questions that need a scientific answer. If you are interested you need to talk to Dr. David Rush, who is a lecturer in structural engineering at the University of Edinburgh and was graduated with his PhD in 2013 from the same university. Dr. Rush has experience in engineering consultancy and working on some running projects related to the infrastructure materials in fire loads.

Next blog, I will discuss the topics available at the third full partner Lund university and the other three associated partners the university of Queensland, ETH Zurich and the university of Maryland.

Second semester mode is on

Second semester of our IMFSE journey has already began, and Lund, which is a small university town in the south of Sweden, will be a home for us for the upcoming five months. Studies are held in Lund University, one of the oldest and prestigious universities in Northern Europe. It was founded in 1666, thereby celebrating its 350 years anniversary. Lund university is well-known for its research activities, for instance, did you know that diagnostic ultrasound and Bluetooth technology were invented based on the research in Lund University?

All international students arrived on specified Arrival day, and I want to note how this event was well-organized with the help of both administraton and local students. Shuttle service run from the train station to the Arrival day venue, where we registered, received a welcome package which included not only useful informaton about university and student life,but also sim card for a cell phone and JoJo travel card. We were even able to buy bedding set including pillow and duvet. So, I highly recommend students coming to study at Lund University to arrive on the specified date, as it is extremely helpful.

All first year students spend second semester in Lund, so we finally met Ghent crew during the introduction session. Our group has become even more diverse than before, and I think it is one of the major advantages of IMFSE.

If you have read Alejandra’s blog, you may know that there was a snowstorm on the introduction day. I should say that I was no less happy and excited than guys who have never seen snow because it reminded me of home, and for me not having snow in winter is unusual instead. Unfortunately, our excitement did not last long, as next day we could hardly find any evidence of snowstorm.

Study mode is already on with morning lectures starting from 8 am,and I am still getting used to such early classes. The schedule in Lund University also keeps changing every week. What I like that there is 15 minutes break after 45 minutes of lecture. I find it really useful since it helps to restore attention after class resumes. Grading system is Sweden also differs, as each assignment is added to final exam score as ‘extra point’ with a condition that exam score is higher than pass score. So by studying at different university each semester, we have a chance to compare different learning environments, teaching styles and ways how academic matters are handled.

Our studies are mainly taking place in V-building of LTH, Faculty of Engineering. To note, all buildings in LTH are named with letters such as V-, A-building and etc. Since doors to the building itself and even classrooms are automatic, they can only be opened by using student card and specific pin code.Also, it is necessary to press special button to open doors otherwise it requires some effort to do it manually. I always fail to remember this simple ‘lifehack’. V-building seemed like a maze to me in the beginning, but things are getting better now. Generally, V-building has really good studying facilities including fire, civil, and computer labs, as well as large lecture halls with comfortable chairs especially for morning lectures. There is even ‘an oven room’ in V-building for students to heat their lunch boxes, as almost all students bring food from home.20170120_120207.jpgOverall, I believe that during this semester we will learn a lot of new things along with enjoying our stay in Lund.

Gothenburg: check

One thing common for all the IMFSE students is certainly a never-ending desire to travel, explore and meet different countries and their cultures. It is therefore no wonder that already a few days after arriving to Lund we started planning our first weekend trip. This time we decided to go just a bit towards the North and experience what Gothenburg (Göteborg), the second largest city in Sweden, has to offer.

From the moment we agreed to make this trip, we only had two days before the departure to find a place to sleep. We decided to try the impossible – find a Couchsurfing host willing to accommodate 6 guys. We were not optimistic at all, but it seems miracles still happen: the next morning already, a guy called Eric accepted our request saying he would be glad to host us. Since this “obstacle” was overcome much easier than we had expected, there was not much left to do than for us to take off right after the class on Friday afternoon.

After a long day at the University and a three hours long trip, we finally reached our first destination – Eric’s flat, located in the southern part of Gothenburg. When someone is ready to host 6 people he never met, it’s needless to say how cool that person must be. The least we could do for showing gratitude is preparing a dinner. For this occasion, Khai and I decided to join our forces together and make some special dishes for our friends. As expected, when Malaysian and Serbian cooking skills combine, the only way the outcome can taste is just divine 🙂 .

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After a pleasant dinner followed by a short cultural exchange, it was about time to experience what Gothenburg is quite famous for – yes, you got it: the nightlife! Going to several pubs, clubs and meeting a lot of interesting Swedes gave a nice finishing touch to this intense but outstanding day!

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Saturday was reserved for exploring the city. Unfortunately, although our journey so far looked a lot like a perfect movie scenario, at this point we got back to reality: the Swedish one. An even hard to imagine enormous amount of fog surprised us that morning and most definitely messed with our original sightseeing plans. Anyhow, we decided to go for it either way. It was quite unusual but still very amusing. The funniest part was climbing a small hill with a beautiful view, from where you get to see the whole Gothenburg – but since the foggy day made sure we barely could see a hand in front of our faces, we will take our host’s word on this one. Afterwards we continued towards the city center in order to actually try to see the city in a close-up 😉 . Exploring the famous ’’Haga’’ street, tasting fish at the famous fish market hall ‘’Feskekôrka’’, going ‘’second hand and vintage’’ shopping and just strolling around the city really made this day hard to forget!

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The last day, although we had put all our hopes into it, the fog didn’t go away. Luckily for us, the bad weather was very well compensated by an amazing host: he proposed us a great fog-proof way to spend the day – going ice skating on one of the biggest rinks in whole Sweden. We all immediately said yes: if you really want to get to know a culture, doing as locals do is a must – so when you are in Sweden, you go ice-skating! Some of us were at the beginner level, some at a bit higher one – at least that’s what we thought until we saw and compared ourselves to a few Swedish people skating there. Fortunately, the rink was also full of children, so we were feeling more comfortable skating surrounded by the ones with similar skating abilities ;).

All in all, our first trip was really fun, and definitely inspiring for exploring Sweden much more!

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