A collage of theses at Lund University.

These last weeks in Sweden have been kind of intense with submissions and exams but not only for us the freshmen but for seniors as well. Four of the IMFSE seniors did their thesis at Lund University, Alejandra, Darko, Juan, and Melchior. Each of them had a limited time to present their work to the public and then they had to answer questions that the examiner, opponents, and the public might have (it sounds scary to me but I’ll have to deal with it next year, hopefully, :D).

In this blog I’ ll give a short “presentation” about these four theses but if you are more interested in any of the topics you can drop an email to these guys and they will be happy to help J.

Alejandra Velasco: “My thesis was about the effect of fatigue during deep metro evacuation and its implication on evacuation modeling tools. Metro stations are widely used and their usage is increasing over the years. Few studies can be found concerning the implication of fatigue, therefore, keeping in mind this particular knowledge gap and by merging two science fields, fire safety engineering, and ergonomics. The purpose of my thesis was to determine how people’s evacuation performance is affected by carrying weight (8 kg) while performing a stair-climbing exercise.

A laboratory experiment was conducted, in which participants performed three different experimental sessions. The first test that participants had to perform was a sub-maximal test and the other two sections were stair-climbing exercises, in one of the tests the participant had an additional weight of 8 kg. As well I used evacuation modeling tools and it is necessary that they put an effort to include fatigue into evacuation modeling tools so that it can resemble more accurately a natural human response”

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I had as well the chance to participate in Alejandra’s experiment, and as you can see in the picture after a couple of minutes climbing with a backpack I was tired, I guess this is called fatigue J.

Darko Perovic: “My thesis was in collaboration with CERN and the aim was to better understand the potential fire behavior of most common combustible items present in CERN’s facilities. After a detailed literature review of fires in electronic cabinets, I developed an Excel calculator for obtaining a design fire in any number of cabinets/racks. Since there are not many literatures for small vehicles in fire, I introduced as well suggestions on how to address the fires used at CERN. The second part of my thesis is designed to explore and test suitable techniques that CERN might use with the goal of characterizing smoke production by common cables and insulating oils used in their premises. Hence, this thesis tries to present the state of art in the mentioned fields and to use the knowledge obtained in literature and by conducting experiments with a goal of further familiarizing with hazards common for nuclear facilities.”

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Juan Manuel Chaves: “My thesis is an experimental study on effective width through openings using Kinect. The effective width model was introduced to show how the flow was linearly proportional to the effective width on stairwells accounting for the edge effect as well as lateral body sway. A fundamental part of this model is the use of effective width for each specific section of the evacuation route being analyzed. In my experiments, I used the Kinect v2 sensor as a tool to measure the dimensions of the boundary layer on three simple scenarios considering low-density flows. Two experiments were  performed an individual and a group one, the first aimed at calibration and unimpeded walking behavior analysis and the latter aimed to provide valuable data to analyze the dimensions of the boundary layer in openings when considering simple low-density flows in the selected configurations. As a conclusion, the boundary layer changes its dimension depending on the width of the opening.”

Melchior Schepers: “In my thesis, I researched the possibility of using FDS and its HVAC module for multi-scale modeling of fire and smoke spread in the LHC accelerator in use at CERN. Multi-scale modeling is a novel approach to fire modeling in situations where the size of the domain prevents it from being modeled completely in 3D. By splitting the domain between a 1D and 3D portion, multi-scale modeling allows for much faster simulations which still adhere to the correct boundary conditions. In my thesis, I built a model representing one section of the LHC tunnel and subsequently subjected it to a number of sensitivity analyses. This led to some remarkable results such as the fact that the simulation results were relatively insensitive to a bunch of parameters, both in the 1D and 3D domain. In the end, it was a really interesting topic, but I also learned that a lot more research in this particular field is needed.”

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Quite interesting topics don’t you think? I wish all the IMFSE seniors good luck with the graduation and best of luck in your career as future FSE :).

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Retrospecting Lund

It has been a while since my last post, but being part of this program you realize that time flies so fast and you are already at the end of your first academic year. Well, there have been 4 months already being at Lund University in Sweden. The university is amazing and Lund is nice (except the fact that the weather is cold and temperatures can go -15 degrees C), I very much love the courses taught here and taking into account human behavior as another active input when you do fire design is quite a challenge.

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Human behavior in Fire was one of the subjects which I enjoyed this semester the most. Being able to understand the way how we think and perceive our surrounding is a very difficult task per se, now imagine how difficult it is to understand our behavior in case of fire. I was very surprised to learn that the majority of accidents and fatalities in a fire incident are caused due to lack of information and underestimation of the fire phenomena (just find the fastest way to go out when a fire alarm goes off). During a class the professor had to explain the densities of people within a square meter and in order to understand it better we volunteered to fill the space and perceive what does it mean to be packed in a crowd and how difficult it is to move (this “experiment’ was ethical,   everyone volunteered to be on the stage haha).

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Advanced Fire Dynamics labs were as well very interesting and we had the possibility to burn different materials and compare them (burning is fun cit. Stefan) and as well raise our own scientific question and solve for it.

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But the best classes where during the afternoons at the tea rooms in PJ-s dormitories, studying how to play and win UNO, how to taste good Indian, Colombian food, great Italian coffee, our performance at Swedish Fika I must admit was very high 😛 (culture studies are as well very important and bring us closer as a group :D)

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And finally, the weather is getting better and better here in Sweden, well not the spring or weather of the Mediterranean region, but improvements have been noticed 😀

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Be part of IMFSE

Being part of IMFSE and sharing my experience through the blog (and as well social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram), intrigued my friends, colleges and my former university (Epoka University). A couple of days ago, a professor of mine contacted me, kindly asking if I could share my steps and achievements after graduating from architecture department at Epoka University.  It feels great when your former university wants you to share your experience so other young students can get motivated and believe in their abilities and chase their own dreams.

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With this short blog, I would like to remind everyone that education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world and grow both personally and professionally. IMFSE is definitely the best choice, providing the great opportunity to study at top 100 Universities, travel and live in different countries, networking and expanding your friendship cycle.

Hereof I would like to remind you that there is a week left until the deadline of the IMFSE applications for scholarship (http://imfse.ugent.be/index.asp?p=613&a=613)

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Hope to meet you soon!

Holi(y)days in Gent

December was a very nice and festive month in Gent, of course after exams, and we as IMFSE group enjoy it by celebrating Giorgio’s late birthday and the end of exam period, which was quite intense let’s say. We had a group dinner at our favorite place Amadeus (which for me is the best place, I’ ll tell you later why :D).received_10213341287520605

Our classmate from the local master, Bert had prepared for us a day trip to visit some historical cities starting with the city of Ypres, an ancient city, dating back to the first century. A very interesting fact was the Ypres battle is one of the most important battles of the WWI. Ypres occupied a strategic position during the First World War because it stood in the path of Germany’s planned sweep across the rest of Belgium and into France from the north. The neutrality of Belgium was guaranteed by Britain; Germany’s invasion of Belgium brought the British Empire into the war. The German army surrounded the city on three sides, bombarding it throughout much of the war, for this reason, the city has enormous cemeteries of soldiers from the different part of the world.

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After visiting and honoring their graveyards we went to Bert’s hometown, De Haan where we had the chance to enter the firefighter’s station where Bert is youngest firefighter volunteer. It was so cool to see all kind of trucks and we could sit in them. After this amazing surprise visit to the station we head to Bert’s house where we met his family, it was a lovely dinner prepared from them.

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Everybody left for the winter holidays, Ines, Balsa, Giorgos and the Kiwi (Jemie) went back home and Gerard had a tour in central and eastern Europe, so I was all alone in Gent and the office that I work for was closed during this holidays so I thought maybe will be fun working somewhere in Gent and meet new people and have new friends. So I had to think which place I would like to work and of course, if they were going to accept me or not. Oh well, I did not think a lot about my choice and guess where I went to ask for a part-time job and I started immediately, Amadeus (you remember the place with the ribs competition and who can eat more). So I started working as a bartender since I don’t really know how to speak Duch (let’s say I don’t know Duch at all). It was an amazing two weeks experience, during the mornings I had the chance to visit Gent and be a tourist around the city and during the evenings I was a bartender in Amadeus.

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The New Year’s Eve was very special, even why I was working. After the restaurant was closed all the team was gathered and started to celebrate the new year, eating, drinking and dancing. It was a different kind of New Year for me since I was used to celebrating this holidays with my family and close friends, but now I have new friends and it was a very fun experience!

festaChristmas with IMFSE family and New Year with Amadeus one!

KEEP CALM and make it to CHRISTMAS BREAK!

Probably you think that December is the best month of the year, Christmas atmosphere! Yes, it’s true (outside in the streets but not in my dorm), we are having a great time while preparing for final examinations (it feels like I started the program yesterday, indeed the time flies so fast).

We had already our first exam (explosions and some of my classmates had turbulence) the next upcoming two week’s we have five more exams (well for me its five, concrete exam is one, and steel is another one). Remember my blog about equilibrium equation?! Well, still working on it (and I just realized that sleep is not a part of it :P).  I do believe that we will do great, we are working hard and surprisingly we are kind of enjoying this last year rush of exams. I like the synergy and collaboration among us (IMFSE) but with the local students as well, we are organizing “discussion” evenings and having time together 🙂

Untitled-1Exams time (the study-room at Ines dormitory is literally my new house)

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Fire dynamics exam preparation (everyday panorama :P)

Two of my classmates had their birthdays, Giorgos and Gerard (G2) so we had to organize a small surprise “party” (even why we know exams are their favorite gift :P). The theme of Giorgos cake was “turbulence” (his birthday was one day before his turbulence exam!) so instead of candles we placed some eatable sticks in disperse configuration and he had to choose, eating them or “burn” them, we already know from the Lab report in fire dynamics what happens if you burn disperse material (Gerard has as well explain it in one of his blogs), Giorgos smart choice was for sure eating them (thankfully, I was starving :P).

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Gerard birthday cake’s theme was the study and discussion of the candle flame (since on Monday we will have fire dynamics exam), we thought we should use our “free” time effectively and no beers until 19th of December (that’s why Balsa is happy with Coca-Cola).

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(Finally, Balsa is not going to complain why he is not in any of my blog’s pics :P)

Good luck to everyone with the exams (Ghent crew and Edinburgh crew)!

Interesting Meetings for Future Safety Experiences_(IMFSE)

This week our firefighting professor had organized a visit to the Fire Academy in Ghent, in order to make some relation from the theoretical lectures with the practical and the real-life firefighting techniques, but as well to introduce us with the real fire that we have been talking so much about (it was “nice” meeting you Mr. Fire). As soon as we arrived at the fire academy, two firefighter assistants were waiting for us. They equipped us with the costumes and oxygen apparatus, we were literally ready to face the fire (I hope not to face it again, it feels safer reading about it haha, kidding the experience was amazing).

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Before entering the container in which the training was going to perform, the professor showed us the main techniques on how to apply water to the fire depending on the situations, either going with the direct technique, put water onto the surface of the fire or going with the indirect technique which consists in cooling the gasses and then extinguish the fire but the most important was the ‘KISS’ technique which every firefighter should know (FYI, it means Keep It Simple Stupid!). Now we were ready to enter the container.

Firstly the test is performed with having natural ventilation, giving the fire the necessary amount of air so that it can grow, after the fire has been developed the doors of the container are closed and the container is filled with smoke and the temperature rises (hello Hell!). Once you have located the fire the extinguishment was fast and easy.

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I really believe in superheroes and firefighters are definitely one of them!

These past weeks have been really intensive but very nice and fruitful, university wise and life wise. The mayor of Tirana (capital city of my country, Albania), Erion Veliaj, was invited to give a lecture at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Netherlands about the city development and how they can drive towards EU integration. Being a really interesting topic and feeling the need to introduce fire safety as a possible mean towards integration, I thought to myself “I need to meet this guy!”, so I went for it. The lecture was very interesting and seeing lots of internationals being interested in the topic and the city, made me feel happy. After the lecture, everybody wanted to meet and talk to the mayor (including ambassadors, ex-ambassadors, and diplomatic people), but my long travel from Ghent to Rotterdam made him actually stop and talk to me and thank me for being part of his lecture and discussion, so I grab the opportunity to briefly introduce him with the IMFSE scope(I guess I already found a job :P). It was a very interesting day, I got the mayors attention, I became an IMFSE “ambassador”, I got a selfie with and a beer with the mayor (I couldn’t ask for more haha).

20171030_200919.jpgIt was great meeting you Erion

A simple equilibrium equation!

The marathon is still going on and I am learning new interesting information like flame propagation, flame temperatures, flame heights and with some given information I can even determine and calculate them. What is really important, is the fact that I can relate the theoretical studies with their practical and real-life application. I will try to teach you one of the basic equations we use (the explanation is in my very own practical and totally unscientifically way :D). Everybody has heard or read about stoichiometry and equilibrium equations, well these equations are applied as well in everyday life. I will show you now what I mean.

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infographic created by me by me 🙂

This is the basic equation of a student life, it is important to find the equilibrium, you agree? (you should because otherwise…). I will let you know soon how my equilibrium equations will go (the scientific one and the practical one :P).

Last week everybody was in Ghent (first and second-year students from Edinburgh) for the FSE day, I guess we were lucky meeting before our study trip in Lund (I am happy I got my Swedish resident permit after my first rejection in August). FSE stands for Fire Safety Engineering day, which is the application of science and engineering principles to protect people, property, and their environments from the harmful effects of fire and smoke, focusing on fire suppression, human behavior and maintaining a tenable environment for evacuation from a fire. Meeting people from the fire safety community which are involved in big projects and they are part of big companies worldwide like ARUP, Promat, WSP, Tucrail, FPC, Kingspan. During the coffee break, we had the opportunity to chat with the representatives of this companies and network (already thinking for a possible internship :D). It was a special FSE day this year due to the 10th birthday of the IMFSE program.

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                                                                                                                              the picture was taken by Elise

After the FSE day we went for the FSE night at Amadeus, for all of you who don’t know Amadeus, it is a famous place here in Ghent and you can eat delicious ribs (you can eat as much as you can, it’s a food competition, I manage to eat only one :/, next time I need to be prepared haha). After Amadeus we had some delicious beers.

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the picture was taken with Eduardo’s cellphone 😉