School of Civil Engineering

Juan Cuevas Rodriguez

Research Scholar
Office: 49-421:24
Phone: +61 7 3346 7418

Juan graduated as a Mechanical Engineer from the Universidad of Chile, where he also earned his M.Sc. degree (2012). Before joining UQ Fire in October 2016, Juan worked in 2012 as a Fire Safety Engineer at the Research and Testing of Materials Institute (IDIEM) carrying out fire and smoke propagation studies. In 2013, Juan joined the Energy Conversion and Combustion Group (EC2G) at the Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María, lecturing in Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer courses and carrying out his research activities in fundamental combustion. Juan has vast experience in soot production studies based on non-intrusive diagnostics such as Modulated Absorption/Emission (MAE), Flame Radiation and Chemiluminescence measurements, Line-of-sight attenuation (LOSA) measurements and TEM soot sampling (intrusive).

From – Santiago, Chile

Start of Studies – October 2016 (PhD)

Supervisors –  Dr Cristian MalukProf Jose Torero, and Dr Juan Hidalgo


  • B.Sc. - Mechanical Engineering - Universidad of Chile (2009)

  • M.Sc. - Mechanical Engineering - Universidad of Chile (2012)

Teaching and Learning


On the Fire Behaviour of Cross-Laminated Timber

Nowadays, the need for eco-friendly buildings is one of the major topics within the building design and construction community. Among the different approaches through which this issue can be addressed, it is the reduction of CO2 emissions one of the most promising. Currently, the reduction of carbon emissions via the diminishing of a building’s energy use is the focus of the design community. Nevertheless, the carbon emissions associated with a building come not only from the energy consumed by it but also from the emissions associated with its construction. This source of carbon emissions can be reduced by two different ways; Firstly, by the minimization of the use of structural materials and secondly, by the reduction in the use of carbon-intensive materials.

Granting the fact that quality building design directly translates to the optimization in the use of construction materials, the need then translates into finding construction materials that generate the least amount of carbon emissions in their use. Among all of the alternatives, Cross-laminated timber, or CLT, is currently receiving attention for its potential use in high-rise buildings due to its enhanced mechanical properties. Nevertheless, it possesses a major drawback, fire safety.

Despite the great research breakthroughs and advances made so far, we are still not able to generate a framework that allows the fire-safe use of CLT as a construction material. As an intrinsically combustible material, unprotected CLT can burn along with the fuel load present in a compartment fire. Because of this reason, it is mandatory to understand whether if this engineered timber product continues burning until eventually reaching a structural collapse point or if it reaches self-extinction. It is, therefore, the burning behavior of CLT and its eventual self-extinction that generates the knowledge gaps that this research project targets.


  • Academic Excellence Grant for MSc students, University of Chile (2010-2012)