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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Rory Hadden PhD defence

Dear all

It is my pleasure to inform you that Rory Hadden has successfully defended his PhD thesis in the viva exam today, subject to minor editorial corrections.  His studies were supervised by Guillermo Rein and the thesis title was:

Smouldering and self-sustaining reactions in solids: an experimental approach 
The external examiner was Dr.-Ing. Martin Schmidt, Head of working group on Flammable Bulk Materials and Dusts, Solid Fuels at BAM (Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing); I was the internal.

Rory had done a great job exploring the diverse topics of smouldering combustion, from fertiliser fires and fire brand ignitions to the pervasive problems of (unwanted) underground coal and peat fires.  So there was no need to haul him over the coals ;)

Well done Rory!

Stephen Welch

Lecturer in Computational Methods for Fire Safety Engineering
SAFE MSc Course Director
IMFSE Director of Studies

Thursday, May 26, 2011

100 Years Ago... The Empire Theatre Fire

“On 9 May 1911 there was a disastrous fire on stage during a performance by The Great Lafayette. The theatre was full to its 3000 seat capacity for the performance by the popular illusionist. Disaster struck during the finale of his act, the “Lion’s Bride”, which involved the use of tapestries, cushions, tents and curtains to create an oriental setting.

As The Gre
at Lafayette took his bow a stage lamp fell and ignited a st age-drape. The audience was a bit slow to recognise the danger, b eing used to Lafayette’s illusions, and only evacuat ed the auditorium after the safety curtain was rapi dly lowered, and the band struck up the National Anthem.

All 3000 members of the audience walked to safety. The fire on stage took three hours to get under control however and eleven people died, including The Great Lafayette. To add to the mystery days before Lafayette’s death he buried his much loved dog Beauty in Edinburgh. This was only allowed on the condition that he was buried alongside.

Unfortunately for Lafayette, the body of his “double”, who was used in his stage show to aid with the illusions, was buried in his place for a while before his body was found in the theatre and laid to rest with his dog. It is rumoured that his ghost still haunts the auditorium and the Scottish Power Gallery…

After the fire, the stage was rebuilt in three months, and the stars returned, but by 1927 the Empire decided to brace itself for the threat of the talkies by equipping itself for bigger shows.”


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

PhD in Robust Upscaling of Smouldering Processes at University of Strathclyde

A PhD studentship is available in Robust Upscaling of Smouldering Processes, with a specific focus on linking results from in situ smouldering remediation (Self-sustaining Treatment for Active Remediation or STAR) experiments in the laboratory (0.003 m^3) to field scale (3 m^3 to 300 m^3 and larger) activities. We are most interested in engineers, physicists, chemists and applied mathematicians with experience or at least a strong interest in combustion and fire sciences. This studentship is offered in partnership between the University of Strathclyde, the University of Edinburgh and the company SiREM.

Supervisor: Dr. Christine Switzer

Co-supervisors: Prof. Jose Torero, Dr. Guillermo Rein and Dr. Gavin Grant

The development of in situ smouldering combustion as a remediation technology (STAR) has emphasized small scale experimentation as a vehicle to understand the different processes involved and to optimize the relevant variables such as ignition protocol and flow rates. These tests have served as the basis under which larger scale tests have been conducted. Larger scale tests have been performed with overall success but with different levels of trial and error that has proven not only costly but having some negative effect in the overall performance. The optimized utilization of STAR in real sites needs to have a clear protocol that will help define the conditions that will best allow scaling-up of laboratory data.

Preliminary assessment of the viability of a site will always be done on the basis of small scale experiments. Definition of the details of the large scale implementation requires the inevitable scaling-up of the information obtained. This can be done via modelling but this requires a detailed understanding of the different phenomena involved. This understanding is currently not complete. An excellent source of information that can allow better understanding of the parameters differentiating small from large scale experiments is the thorough a posteriori assessment of the different large scale tests that have been conducted. While some assessment has been done, it has been mostly qualitative and it has never been directly correlated to small scale behaviour.

The proposal for this studentship is based on the need to develop the scale-up understanding from existing (and future) large scale experiments. The analysis of temperature/emissions/igniter/flow data together with the structure of excavation data will allow better understanding of the large scale tests. This information can be fed into existing (analytic and numerical) models to develop up-scaling tools. Furthermore, this information has to be linked to the wide database of small scale experimental data to try to establish an ideal protocol to use bench scale experimentation for the purpose of assessing site viability.

There is one studentship associated with this advertisement and this student will be based at the University of Strathclyde, UK. The studentship is open to individuals within the EEA only and provides a stipend of £13,590 per year. For further information, please contact Dr. Christine Switzer []

Monday, May 09, 2011

We are number 1! has just posted a list of the 45 best fire science blogs. And we are number 1!