IMFSE Thesis 3

This is the last blog in the three blogs series about the IMFSE thesis topics, to read blog one press here and to read blog two press here. In this blog, I am going to present the thesis topics that are usually available at Lund University, University of Queensland, University of Maryland and ETH Zurich.

  1. Lund University:

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The fire safety department at Lund university is well known with its long history of fire science. The research at the fire safety engineering department focus on three axes of fire safety, namely;

-Fire dynamics.

– Risk analysis and requirements criteria to achieve personal safety and property protection.

– Human Behaviour in fire and evacuation.

Lund university also hosts the fire laboratory, where the all the IMFSE students do their experimental work in the 2nd semester for the pool fire in an enclosure to measure the flame height, smoke layer …etc. The fire lab also has the ability to build specific experimental setups at the workshop if needed.

The fire group at Lund university is led by prof. Patrick van hees and has good co-operations with some big research institutes e.g. SP Sweden. Based on tha, Lund university can offer a wide variety of topics for the IMFSE students each year, for example:

  • In Fire dynamics, ventilation and burning behavior:

– Burning behavior in underventilated cavities (Hosted by SP).

– CFD simulation of enclosure fire with (Semi-)detailed chemistry (Under the supervision of Marcus Runefors)

– Ventilation strategies for tunnels in different countries and consequences (hosted by SP Sweden and supervised by Dr. Haukur Ingason):

With his great experience in tunnel fire, dr. Haukur is supervising one of the IMFSE students to make an overview of the different ventilation strategies in case of fire in a tunnel and to compare the different solution from a theoretical and practical view angle using the appropriate FSE tools.

– Determination of design fires for cables (Under the supervision of prof. Patrick)

This research is experimental, particularly to collect more data about the burning behavior of different types of cables for better understanding and expectation for its burning hazards. The types of cables are too variable and could be found at power plants, chemical plants or tunnels.

– Fire safety of facades (Under the supervision of prof. Patrick)

Due to the recent fires that happened in the high rising buildings especially in Dubi, it is essential for the fire safety researchers to start investigating the flame spread along the exteriors of the buildings, instead of neglecting this hazard. The main objective of such research is to obtain the requirements needed for a screening test for the risk of facades in full-scale tests.

  • In Risk analysis:

– Fire risk index method for cable tunnels (Under the supervision of Dr. Nils Johansson)

The main objective of such topic is to develop a risk index methods for cable tunnels and compare it to other risk analysis methods.

  • In Human Behaviour in fire and evacuation:

– Flashing lights at road tunnel emergency exit portals: A VR study with head mounted displays (Under the supervision of Enrico and Jonathan):

The objective of this research will be to use the interesting Virtual Reality system to investigate the flashing lights at emergency exits and to validate the VR  with headsets results of this study using previous experimental results done using the VR in a CAVE.(Cave Automatic Virtual Environment) setting.

– Particle models for high densities crowd flows (Under the supervision of Daniel Nilson):

The main objective of this thesis will be to study the use of particle models to study the high densities crowd flows(e.g. bigger than 4 people/m^2).These densities are very common in large scale events like festivals, carnivals and metro stations.

* * Lund universities also offers topics for CFD studies and firefighting research (many firefighters who did the IMFSE program did their experimental thesis in the Fire Lab at Lund university).

2. University of Queensland:

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The university of Queensland hosts one of the biggest fire labs in Austraila with facilities available to do tests from small- scales to full-scale structures. Available facilities, for example: iCone Calorimeter, Fire propagation apparatus, Mass loss calorimeter, Lage scale heat release analyzer, Radiant burner array and Muffle furnace.

With all these facilities available in the same lab, the student can have many opened horizons to perform fire research and testing. The fire group at the university of Queensland is well known with its research in structures in fire and materials ignition testing, due to the fact that this fire group falls under the umbrella of the civil engineering department a the UQ.

An example of the available topics at the University of Queensland:

– The effectiveness of intumescent coatings under a range of heating conditions (Under the Supervision of Dr.Cristian Maluk):

This experimental study will look at the performance and effectiveness in the charring activation for a variety of existent intumescent coatings under a range of heating conditions. Practical (and explicit) models for calculating the heat transfer to steel during a fire will be developed within the scope of the project.

3. The University of Maryland:

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The Fire Protection Engineering (FPE) group at the University of Maryland was established in 1956 and prof. Quintiere who is one of the most widely known fire safety researchers and the past chair of the International Association for Fire Safety Science is one of the corner-stones of the FPE group`s history. Now, the FPE group hosts eight faculty members and prof. Jose Torero joined recently this year coming from the University of Queensland which will be a great and valuable addition to the FPE group.

The FPE team has expertise in all the aspects of fire safety research e.g. CFD, flammability, flame spread, wild-fires, combustion, suppression, structure, detection, egress …etc.

Examples of the offered topics at the University of Maryland:

– CFD Simulations of Fire Suppression by Water Sprays (Under the supervision of Dr. Arnaud Trouve):

The objective of this project is to help develop/evaluate the FireFOAM capability for simulations of fire suppression by water-based suppression systems (including the simulation of turbulent flow, mixing, combustion, spray transport and evaporation, radiative heat transfer). The project considers both sprinkler and mist suppression systems.

– Ignition of Wildland Fuels (Under the supervision of Dr. Micheal Gollner):

The main objective of this project is to do experimental and theoretical research to investigate the intermittent convective heating on fine fuels using a new intermittent gas burner which was developed to intermittently ignite the fine fuels. The results of this research will help inform ongoing work between UMD and the US Forest Service’s Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory to develop a new theory of wildland flame spread.

4. ETH Zurich:

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The fire research at ETH Zurich is done also in the department of civil engineering. The civil engineering department at ETH Zurich is ranked the 11th in the world according to the QS world university ranking. Based on that, the quality of the research done at prof. Mario Fontana`s group is uncomparable and is a non-missed experience for the IMFSE students with interests in the structure elements behavior in fire, concrete spalling or timber structures. Prof. Fontana is a former member of the Eurocode drafting team on structural fire design of steel and timber structures so he will be an ideal supervisor of topics related to steel and timber structures in fire.

An example of the topics offered at ETH Zurich:

The effects from Polyethylene (PE) fibers on the explosive spalling of concrete.

By the end of this blog, the reader should have a general overview of the different thesis topics offered for the IMFSE students. One can confidently say that there is absolutely no fire safety program around the globe that can offer this variety of the available universities, topics, and experiences to its students. Generally speaking ” IMFSE rocks”.

ps: All the thesis topics examples are based on the topics offered last year and it is just to give an overall sense about the IMFSE thesis topics.

 

 

 

A weekend in Oslo

Studying and living in Lund has many advantages, and one of the biggest is definitely the proximity of a number of beautiful places and cities. One of them is surely Oslo.

Since we knew that after the Fire Dynamics exam on Thursday, we will have the Friday off, Juan and me decided to travel to Oslo for an extended weekend! Surely not the most efficient, but definitely the cheapest way of getting there is taking a bus. A 7 hours’ ride will get you from Lund to Oslo.

As usual, our goal was to find a Couchsurfing host, and although it took some time and effort, eventually we got lucky again. This time, we were hosted by a guy called Victor, and it turned out anew, that being hosted by a local can be so cool!

As we were travelling by a night bus, and arriving to Oslo at 5 am, our first destination was our host’s house. Already than we could figure how nice our host was, since he didn’t mind waking up before 6 am to receive us. So, after getting some proper sleep we were finally ready to go discover Oslo. After a long road, our first destination was obviously some eating place. Recommended by both our host and several websites, it had to be Mathallen food hall. The concept is the following: in a large hall, various chefs prepare food from different parts of the world, and for decent prices you can try some exotic specialties.

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Having our bellies full of delicacies, we went strolling around the city. Another great thing about this trip was that the weather was perfect, mostly sunny with cca 10° Celsius. First thing we noticed while walking through the streets was a lot of people carrying briefcases in one hand and skis in the other. Apparently, all of them were preparing for a weekend trip to some of the various nearby ski resorts.

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After some time, we reached the Royal palace, and were lucky enough to see the guard change, and even take a photo with one of the guards 😊

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One thing about Oslo, that we became aware from the very beginning was how spread the whole city was around a huge area. The architecture of the city mostly consists of low rise buildings and houses, leaving enormous amount of space for greenery! In most capitals around the world, having a green place is seen as a luxury, in Oslo it’s just something completely ordinary.

At some point of the day we were accompanied by Dino, my Serbian friend from Copenhagen. We finished our day exploring Oslo nightlife, which was quite interesting, though at the same time shocking at the moments – € 10 for a glass of beer. It was so ridiculous that at those moments we wished we were back in Sweden, which already has high alcohol prices, which on the other hand happen to be decent when compared to those in Norway…

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The next day, and it turned out, the rest of our trip, was dedicated to skiing in many forms. As the biathlon World cup was being held in the suburbs of Oslo, next to the famous Holmenkollen ski-jumping hill, it was obvious where our next stop was. Apart from the breath-taking ski-jumping hill, Holmenkollen has an interesting skiing museum.

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Finally climbing to the top of the ski jump, we experienced a really stunning view of the city and the bay of Oslo, biathlon competition underneath us, frozen lake in the back, numerous Norwegian hills and forests, and the scary super inclined ski jumping piste!

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After having such a nice ski experience, the night was this time reserved for something completely different. Victor, our host, decided to take us to his favourite Mongolian restaurant in Oslo. The whole concept of a buffet, where you pick your own fresh ingredients and the chef is frying it in front of your eyes, gave a special touch to already great tastes!

Since we were so lucky to pick the perfect dates to come to Oslo, Sunday was reserved for something even more spectacular – the renowned Vikersund Ski Jumping World Cup. Just an hour and half away from Oslo, and we found ourselves watching the best skijumpers compete for the title of the World champion!

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I was really passionate about this sport when I was really young, and back in the day my favourite jumper was Japanese Noriaki Kasai, who was dominating the competitions ever since he became the World champion for the first time back in 1992. I cannot describe how happy I was when I figured out that he is still competing and that he was jumping in Vikersund that day. And not only that he competed, but in his 44th year, he managed to finish second, which really made my day!

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After the finals, our Norwegian trip was coming to an end, and we headed for Oslo. Since we had spare 2 hours before our bus to take us back to Sweden, it was just enough to play a game of shuffle board with Victor, and to properly say goodbye to our host and this lovely country!

During these three days, I discovered just a tiny part of Norway, a beautiful and enormous country. Having had such a remarkable first visit, I just can’t wait to go back and discover more!

Short vacation: eat,(pray),travel

Exams can be stressful, and after studying intensively, for me, as for a student, the feeling of relief after exams is the best feeling. So, after the Advanced Fire Dynamics exam, we decided to treat ourselves with a good food and visited Africa Daily Market which was recommended by our friends who visited that place before. It incorporates a small restaurant with traditional African food and shop where you can find various African style souvenirs and even clothing. The food was really delicious, the best I have eaten recently, as it is more homemade food rather than restaurant food. We enjoyed not only the food, but also friendly and warm atmosphere, so I highly recommended this place to everyone in Lund. You can see our happy well fed faces from the photos below. I hope that we will have same expression after the grades will be released…

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Africa Daily Market and African Food

Since we had no class next day, we decided to go to Copenhagen for a day trip, as we had not visited it yet. It is very easy to go there since there is a direct train from Lund. Because it is not very big, we just wandered around and visited the main attractions. As in many historic cities, in Copenhagen you can find imposing palaces and churches such as The Marble church standing next to modern buildings such as Copenhagen Opera House.

Copenhagen is also a green city with a number of parks and gardens, and the garden of Rosenborg Castle, which is also known as King’s Garden, is the oldest and most visited among tourists. Since spring has just come, flowers are just starting to bloom, so we agreed to come back later to fully enjoy the beauty of the garden.

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Nyhavn

I want to mention that we had a little adventure while visiting the Rosenborg Castle. If you have been there, you may know that, since Danish Crown Jewels are displayed in the castle, it is guarded by armed soldiers. After walking around the castle for a while we wanted to see Nyhavn with its famous colourful houses, and we were just heading to the exit when suddenly the guards started to run and shout. The entrances and exits were closed, and we were gathered in one place, while people inside the castle were not allowed to go out. Nobody explained anything, and we just stood outside. In the beginning, we thought that it is some kind of training, but when I heard the sounds of people shouting from the streets, I got scared. But, luckily, the girls standing next to us told that they saw hockey fans on the streets before, and that it must be them cheering outside. After about 20 minutes, we were finally released. The sigh of relief passed over the crowd as we started to move, but still nobody explained the reason why all of this had happened. We were curious, so we asked people who were stuck in the castle, and they told us that someone just touched the glass and alarm went off. Curtains fall…

So, I want to advise all not to touch the things that are not allowed to in the Rosenborg Castle or any other place guarded with armed soldiers. On the other hand, because of that person I have a story to share with you in my blog. Everything happens for a reason…

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Rosenborg Castle

So, after studying hard for the exam, we had our short ‘vacation’, and now we are ready to start the second half of the semester with a new course of Human Behaviour in Fires which seems to be very interesting and useful for our future career as a Fire Protection Engineer.

Cruising around Lund

In these cold and mostly foggy or cloudy winter days, having a sunny day is a real luxury, so when you do, you should make it worth! Luckily, Melchior and Arjan have big cars, so whenever we have free time and good weather, we automatically meet up in the car and leave for exploring Skåne (Scania – the southernmost Swedish County where Lund is located). Analyzing the map of Skåne, we figured out that the seaside is quite near, and that there are a lot of nice places that are worth visiting, not far away from Lund.

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So, this is us, the Lomma trip crew from every corner of the Earth:

Habib from Indonesia, Arjan from Belgium, Ming-Cian from Taiwan, Juan from Colombia, Zakaria from Oman, Sergio from Costa Rica and myself from Serbia.

So, a few weeks ago, the sun gladdened us, and we decided to head on just 11km west of Lund, to the town of Lomma, famous for having a really nice beach. Although, it was one of the coldest days ever since we arrived to Sweden, the clear sky, the sea and a beautiful view just made us forget about cold. First thing we all got impressed by was an amazing view of Turning torso in Malmo, as well as the Øresund bridge.

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During the long walk along the beach, we noticed several nice barbecue spots, a beach volleyball court and a kite surfing club, therefore we concluded that this will definitely be a place we will return to as soon as the weather gets better!

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As soon as we had a next free day, we decided to go check the next interesting town. It was time to finally discover Ystad!  Just an hour drive south from Lund, and you will find yourself in this lovely port-town. Being one of the best preserved medieval towns in the province of Skåne, this town just pervades you with its beautiful architecture. Lots of small alleys full of wonderful colorful houses stretching all the way to the shore make walking around Ystad really special.

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The shore has a nice sidewalk and a huge pier, from which you get to see the incoming and outgoing ferries sailing to Danish island of Bornholm and Polish city of Świnoujście. Ystad is also famous for having the tiniest museum in Sweden, only a few m2, dedicated to Hasseåtage – famous Swedish comedian duo consisting of Hans Alfredson and Tage Danielsson. And last but not least, it is famous for the fictional detective Kurt Wallander whose stories, by Henning Mankell, were set primarily in Ystad and nearby communities.

Both Skåne and Sweden have so much more to offer, and we will try to use every possible opportunity to explore the most of it!

 

A day by the Alpes

Last weekend, Andres, Philip and myself went to visit the land of watches, chocolate (after Belgium) and cheese; the four languages speaking country, Switzerland!

Saying going to Switzerland usually means spending so much money, not only because of the flight ticket but also because of the fact that transportation and accommodation are expensive over there. As students, we usually have a smart way to do our trips. We booked a one day trip with one of a student trips group they usually organize budget trips from Belgium to all over Europe. Our trip to Switzerland was organized in the following way:

  • First, we took the bus on Friday night from Brussels airport around 10 pm.
  • Spending the whole night on the bus and then arriving at our first destination on Saturday morning around 7:00 am.
  • Enjoying the day in Switzerland and taking the bus again Saturday night at 11 pm to go back to Brussels.
  • Arrived on Sunday morning at 9:00 am at Brussels airport.

Based on this plan we skipped two nights of accommodation just by sleeping on the bus (it is not like a five stars hotel but it will be extremely comfortable after a long one-day trip). Also, we skipped the flight ticket price by taking the long bus drive and the transportation budget was also vanished because we have our bus with a great program.

Our first destination was the majestic water falls Rhin-falls, Rhin falls is located next to the small town of Schaffhausen in North Switzerland. These water falls were created more than 14000 years ago during the last ice age and are considered as the largest plain waterfalls in Europe.

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The next destination was the beautiful city of Lucerne; Lucerne is located in the central part of Switzerland in the German speaking portion. Lucerne got its beauty and tourism attraction from being located on the sparkle lake of Lucerne with a beautiful view of the Alpes.

We were lucky enough to have our trip in a sunny and warm day, the view of the Alpes with the sun and the lake was an unforgettable experience. We were also extremely lucky to be able to attend the famous carnival “Fasnacht”, Fasnacht comes originally from Basel city and it usually takes place between February and March. Fasnacht in Lucerne starts with the dirty Thursday and ends on the Ash day.  To celebrate the Fasnacht the local people of Lucene will be wearing a variety of costumes and masks, participants should be fully concealed during the celebration, it is kind of against the protocol to remove anyone’s mask to know his identity.  The masks usually are representing some well-known characters e.g. politicians, musicians, animals or comic characters.

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Our third destination was Zurich; from the first moment when we arrived to Zurich we noticed the Swiss public taste and standards which can clearly appear in all the small details around the city of Zurich. First of all we decided to take a boat trip in the lake Zurich, which is located in the southeast of Zurich. With the sunny weather and the fresh cold wind that comes from the Alpes nothing could be better to relax than just sitting with a drink and enjoy the view.

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After that, we had a walking tour around the city, enjoying the old town and some Swiss chocolates.

Later we had dinner, bought some magnets as souvenirs and get back to our bus around 11 pm. We spent the night in the bus on our way back to Belgium; after enjoying the sunrise in the countryside during the return trip we arrived to Brussels airport at 9 am and took the train back to Ghent with our unforgettable Swiss memories.

“A year with thirteen months”

As I have mentioned before, this year is 350th anniversary of Lund University, and a number of activities have been organized  starting from December 2016 till January 2018 to celebrate this important jubilee. Thus, according to the event programme, it is “a year with thirteen months”. Some events are part of the scientific theme weeks, and some are associated with culture weeks.

This week, for instance, was a Science Week, and it was launched with the discussion if “the world is becoming a better place”. The panel consisting of the professors from different departments of Lund University tried to answer this question by concentrating on global issues including democracy, energy crisis, gender inequality, poverty and risks.

In between, we enjoyed a magnificent choral performance by the Palaestra Vocal Ensemble whose beautiful voices filled the grand Universithusets aula. Interestingly, all performed songs were related to the discussion theme. Especially, I got goosebumps when the choir sang a small sentence-“When I close my eyes, I dream of peace”-spoken by an eleven years old Crotian boy during the Yugoslav war. It was sung in 12 different languages by different choral groups, and I was excited when I heard it in Russian.

The discussion was concluded that even though it can be said that the world is becoming a better place by considering the advancement of science and technology, there are many social, political, and environmental problems that need to be resolved. The evening ended with a small reception where we enjoyed the chocolate with the university logo.

This Science week was not the last one, as three more Science Weeks will be held with the focus on the digitalisation, neuroscience, and education with the following topics: The Digital Society, The Amazing Brain, and The University of the Future. We can also enjoy the activities which are part of the upcoming Global Week and Sustainability Week. Thus, it can be seen that the university offers an extensive programme of activities and events. So, check them out and take part in celebrating the jubille of one of the most prestigious universities in Northern Europe.

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Do you want to see the northern lights?

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Everything started when a text message reached my phone saying: “Hey, do you want to see the northern lights?” in that moment countless possibilities came into my mind, thoughts like: what if I have classes? What if I have assignments to submit? What about the fire dynamics exam that is so close to the travel date? However, life has a way of putting everything in order if you only have patience and bit of organization skills.

The travel plan was amazing, it included dog sledging, a snowmobile tour, sauna, a visit to the ice hotel, ice fishing and of course, staring at the sky looking for the northern lights while staying in a cozy cabin in Kiruna (that by the way, its -20 degrees there). It sounded too good to be true and too good to be missed.

Julia and I (first year students) started to prepare ourselves for the trip 3 weeks before the flight. Luckily for us, we could finish all the assignments on time and also agreed with one professor on the possibility to rescheduled our seminar for Thursday as our trip started on early Friday. Needless to say, we had to do a lot of sacrifices before traveling, but it was totally worth it.

Friday started early for all of us, getting to the tDSC_8009rain station around 5:45AM to be in the airport before 7:00AM is much harder to do than it sounds, but we were so excited that at 2PM we would be surrounded by snow, that we did it with a smile on our faces and coffee. When we arrived at Kiruna, the first thing we noticed was how small the airport is, it only takes a maximum of 4 flights a day in high season! The second thing we noticed was that everything was white! Snow was everywhere! If you remember my love for snow from the previous blogs, can you imagine how happy I was?

 

The weekend was lovely, we got to see the northern lights 3 nights in a row! On Saturday, we did the dog sledge tour and we got to meet all the dogs and their owners. Some people think that this dogs suffer when they carry weight, however you cannot imagine how happy this dogs are when they’re running! If you use the brake, they start to pull hard while barking until you release the brake again. They love it! Another remarkable thing is how much the owners care for them, they know each dog by their name and they even explain you the personality of the dogs when you’re playing with them.

On Sunday, the group was divided in two: half of us went to the ice hotel driving a snowmobile, the others went to do the Nordic hike trying to find reindeers. We all had a great time and by the time of dinner we could share different stories of the day. On Monday morning, it was time to prepare ourselves to say “good bye” to Kiruna, but first we went to the frozen lake to try to catch a fish. Drilling the hole through the ice was the hardest thing to do and the slowest, but setting all the gears and sunbathing at -20 degrees was a good experience.

This was a weekend to be remember for the rest of our lives and the only thing remaining to say is: “Thank you God for friends and good times”

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