School of Civil Engineering

Please contact Dr David Lange at for further details of projects


Project 1

Regression and charring rate of timber under natural fire exposure

Timber as a construction material is seeing a rapid growth in its use at the moment; this is a result of strong environmental credentials and a drive for an improved end user experience in offices and residential developments. This has been enabled by the development of both engineered timber products and the structural engineering knowledge required to build taller timber buildings or new structural forms in modern timber developments. However one of the major obstacles to the realisation of expressed timber in buildings is the necessity to meet fire safety requirements which often result in fully encapsulated timber buildings, or ‘timber reinforced gypsum buildings’. This results from the fact that engineering knowledge about timber in fire is often limited to the response to the standard fire in a furnace test, in an oxygen depleted environment. Such a fire is not representative of a fire in either a modern open plan office space or a fire in a timber lined compartment. This project seeks to study experimentally both the regression and charring rate of timber under different combinations of thermal exposure and oxygen concentration. This knowledge will help to enable the use of alternative fires for timber fire safety design.


Project 2

Impact of spalling on survivability of concrete structures in fire

High strength concrete frequently used in tall building design is susceptible to explosive spalling. This is the process whereby a combination of applied loading, thermo-mechanical stress, and build-up of pore pressure under heating result in the sudden and violent expulsion of concrete from the exposed surfaces. There has been a great deal of research trying to understand the mechanisms which govern spalling, and many theories exist which are largely unprovable as a result of difficulties in measuring many of the variables involved. This project aims to approach the problem from another perspective – by looking at the consequences of spalling on the survivability of concrete structures after fire. Using the results of previous spalling experiments, loss of concrete cover will be linked to both heat transfer and structural models to further study the impact of spalling on different structural elements and ultimately its potential impact on a buildings fire strategy.