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2017 Best Thesis Awards Announced

The IAFSS Awards Committee received 13 excellent applications from 10 different countries for the 2017 Best Thesis Award “Excellence in Research”. After a thorough review comprising three independent evaluations of all submission, it is with great pleasure that we announce the three winners for this year. Despite the excellent quality of the submissions and very close runner-ups, the panel chose the winners in unanimity.  Each winner will have the opportunity to present his thesis work in Lund.

Asia/Pacific: Zihe Gao – USTC, China in collaboration with Ghent University (Belgium)

Studies on Characteristics of Confined Fire Plumes and Mechanism of Natural Smoke Exhaust by Shaft in Tunnel Fires


 thesis1 This thesis addresses a very relevant problem, tunnel smoke management, and uses a very broad range of tools (model scale experiments, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations and dimensional analysis) in a rigorous and meaningful way. The results provide relevant information of practical use including new criteria for design. The work has been extensively published and the range of methods used have the potential to deliver high fidelity performance engineering tools. The comprehensive nature of this work and the rigour of the use of the different tools set this work aside from other submissions.


Europe/Africa: Cristian Maluk – University of Edinburgh, UK

Development and Application of a Novel Test Method for Studying the Fire Behaviour of CFRP Prestressed Concrete Structural Elements

This thesis includes the invention of a novel fire testing methodology/equipment (H-TRIS), which is important for fire engineering, especially for the research of fire spalling. H-TRIS provided very well controlled heating regime, which significantly reduces the ‘randomness’ of spalling tests, which is a known issue of conventional testing approach. In addition, the thesis presents timely research on the fire performance of modern, optimized concrete structural elements on both material and structural levels and presents improved understanding of the explosive spalling of concrete in fire. The work reported in the thesis has been published in peer reviewed journals and the results of the thesis are novel, accurate, useful and add to our present knowledge of the mechanisms and prevention measure of fire spalling, which is an important yet resolved issue of concrete construction. The new test method can potentially benefit all researchers in the fire-spalling research field. H-TRIS has already been adopted widely. The demonstrated to-date impact of this work set it apart from all other submissions.

Americas: Ali Tohidi – Clemson University, USA

Experimental and Numerical Modeling of Wildfire Spread via Fire Spotting

 thesis3 This thesis makes several significant contributions to wildland fire science by improving the current understanding of firebrand transport during wildland fires. It focuses on developing a better understanding of the mechanics of spot fire formation through experimental investigations and computational modelling of ember lofting and transport. The dissertation demonstrates that firebrand transport models should account for atmospheric boundary layer velocity gradients, an important conclusion given that most implementations of firebrands spotting in operational models do not currently do this. The novelty of the approach and the rigour with which the thesis builds its arguments on the basis of exhaustive surveys of the literature sets this work apart from other submissions.


About the IAFSS Best Thesis Award “Excellence in Research” and its Privileges

The IAFSS Best Thesis Award “Excellence in Research” recognizes the best research thesis at PhD and Masters levels, in all the fields related to fire safety science and engineering. There are three such Awards for the three IAFSS regions, Europe and Africa, Americas, as well as Asia and Oceania.

To be eligible for nomination, the nominee’s thesis must have been officially submitted to the university granting the degree for examination between January 1st, 2014 and November 31st, 2016 and nominated for the Award by the nominee’s supervisor, as described below.

Each recipient must deliver, at the 12th Symposium, a paper drawn from his/her thesis. The recipient will be asked to prepare a paper, as per submission guidelines of the 12th Symposium, based on the material included in the thesis and not published in the Symposium or other peer reviewed archival publication.

The Award consists of a plaque, a grant of US$2,000 to cover travel and sustenance related to the recipient’s attendance at the 12th Symposium in Lund, Sweden, and free registration for the Symposium.

The Award consists of a plaque, a grant to cover travel and subsistence related to the recipient’s attendance and a free registration at the Symposium.