Fire safety of civil engineering materials and structures
Securing structural safety is one of the main tasks of a structural engineer. Whereas aspects as structural performance as a consequence of e.g. increased static and dynamic loading, long-term ageing, moisture effects etc. over lifetime is well embedded in national and international research agenda’s and education of structural engineers, the aspect of fire safety receives less attention. This field tends to be scattered over several disciplines, sometimes lacking clear focus. Research performed on this topic is nearly always incident-driven, but almost never defined from a more fundamental and long-term perspective.
New developments further motivate the application of engineering principles to fire safety problems:
- New types of fire as a result of increased use of electrical vehicles, temporary storage of electricity, increased use of electricity in general, leading to types of fire which are different from the past (higher temperature loads and temperature gradients, alternative fire propagation scenario’s etc.);
- The use of novel construction materials and structures integration of systems and structures etc. in relation to fire safety engineering;
- Unexpected damage caused by unforeseen risks in case of fire (progressive collapse, e.g. TUD Architecture, WTC New York, Grenfell London).
The fellow will concentrate research activities on the relation of extreme fire loading scenario’s with deformation and failure behaviour on material, structural component, structural and system level. Fire safety should be seen as an important component of integral system safety of engineering assets.
This research will be embedded in the 3MD-department, given its strengths on civil engineering materials, mechanics and structural and integral design. The position also has clear links with other departments (e.g. GSE – tunnels, TP – traffic management, HE – hydraulic civil structures). Opportunities to connect to national (Federatie Veilig Nederland, Instituut Fysieke Veiligheid, CROW), and international professional organizations (e.g. Society of Fire Protection Engineers, Institution of Fire Engineers, Society of Fir e Safety) and international academia are numerous.