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					                    PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


Innovation in Construction Procurement

Supervisor / Contact: Dr RS Perera, Mr SG Heany and Professor WS McGreal

Other Details
Period: September 2008 - September 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
There are many types of procurement systems available to the present day
construction clients and professionals. A question arises as to what is the best
procurement option for a particular construction scenario. Out of this wide array
of procurement systems how to select the best construction procurement system.
Another aspect to this problem is the creation of a tailor-made procurement
system for the particular scenario. Thus generating innovation in procurement
systems. A third characteristic is the question of achieving best value in the
selection of a suitable procurement system.

Combining these entire tasks is an onerous one. The use of Artificial Intelligence
(AI) techniques in providing a suitable solution to the complicated multi faceted
problem is one good possibility. Therefore, this research project will involve the
use of AI techniques to provide innovation in procurement system selection and
development.

The researcher will be required to carry out a detailed literature review of
available procurement systems and their numerous variants. An analysis of
possible AI techniques in order to select suitable technique(s) and a development
platform will have to be carried out. The project will then involve the development
of a prototype system as a demonstrator that will enable the construction
professionals to select existing procurement system or to innovate new
procurement system that ideally suites the project scenario concerned.


Procurement of IT for Construction Organisations

Supervisor / Contact: Dr RS Perera, Mr SG Heany and Professor WS McGreal

Other Details
Period: June 2008 - January 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


Initial research on the area of procurement of IT in general and procurement of IT
specific to the construction industry reveals that there is a considerable
knowledge gap in this area. Hence this research project proposes the concept of
cross breading value management technique extensively used in the
construction industry with procurement of IT to develop a IT procurement model.

The project will involve detailed review of IT procurement techniques used in the
industry and an analysis of the value management process. Value management
uses the Functional Analysis System Technique and such other techniques to
analyse the functional requirements of the subject under review. With this project
it is expected that this and similar other techniques be reviewed in detail to
identify the application of it in analysing the IT procurement problem.

It is expected that the researcher will have to undertake a survey to identify
existing IT procurement techniques and practices employed particularly by
construction organisations. The survey can be expanded to learn from such
practices adopted by the non-construction organisations as well.

Finally the project will involve the development of a model for procurement of IT
for the construction industry. The model will incorporate the use of value
management to enhance the procurement process and achieving best value in IT
procurement.



Achieving Best Value in IT Systems in Construction

Supervisor / Contact: Dr RS Perera, Mr SG Heany and Professor WS McGreal

Other Details
Period: September 2008 - September 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: DEL/VCRS
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Often IT solutions are developed to solve problems faced by construction
companies. Due to complexities involved in the construction process these
solutions are often unique and specific to the organisation concerned. Software
development organisations (software houses) are engaged for this purpose. The
critical issue to be investigated in such a scenario is the fact whether these IT
solutions achieve best value to the organisation.

This research project involves the investigation of the software development
lifecycle applied specifically for software solution development to construction
organisations and providing a methodology that will ensure best value in software
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


solution development. The conceptual model will involve the integration of Value
Management (VM) techniques to the software development process as means of
achieving best value.

The research will involve a detailed study of software development
methodologies and their application in software development to construction
organisations. This will be carried out as a literature search initially and
subsequently detailed case studies based on the various methodologies. A
model that integrates VM to software development will be developed. This will be
then applied to certain case studies in order to evaluate its potential.


Anthropomorphism in the Production and Consumption of Art and
Architecture

Supervisor / Contact: Dr. Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes, Professor Hisham Elkadi

Other Details
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: DEL-VCRS
Campus: Belfast

Brief Description
In theory and art, as well as architectural practice, research on the corporeality of
the body and its relation to space deserves to be strengthened. Analogy is often
established between architectural space and the body; houses are described in
anatomical terms. It is proposed to explore, through visual art practice,
phenomenological and theoretical investigation, the relationship of the „house‟ or
„building‟ to the body, including their related scale.
As a main focus, anthropomorphism and the corporeal experience of architecture
– where the subjective and objective are described in terms of a dialectics of
inside and outside, of public and private space – are heightened and made
aware by architects and through visual art practice in sculpture and installation.
Issues of social diversity and how it may be facilitated and rendered sustainable
through architecture, art and culture, could also be addressed in this research
project.
This topic (in its written part) will find its case studies in art and architectural
history, as well as in theories that investigate the intersections between society,
the body, culture, identity, location and architecture. Three-dimensional practice
outputs at the intersection between art and architecture are anticipated.



Urban Form, Energy and Transport
                  PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


Supervisor / Contact: Professor Julian Hine (BERI, RPP), Professor Neil Hewitt
(BERI, CST) and Dr Philip Griffiths (BERI, CST)

Other Details
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: DEL-VCRS
Campus: Jordanstown

Problem
Public transport is best suited in high density human settlements (Dunphy and
Fisher, 1996). However, passive solar design, where buildings are designed and
constructed to utilise heat from the sun, is usually associated with low-rise, low
density urban form (Lowe, 1986).
Capeluto and Shaviv (2001) demonstrated that it is possible to develop building
form which can provide high density dwellings in an Israeli context. However,
could the same approach be taken and adopted for urban form in Northern
latitudes with a totally different climate?
Work has been undertaken in this area in the 70s and early 80s (McGregor,
1979; Diamond, 1983), but how relevant are these studies today?

References
Capeluto IG and Shaviv E (2001), On the use of „solar volume‟ for determining
the urban fabric, Solar Energy, Vol. 70, No. 3, pp 275-280.
Lowe R, (1986), Communications on energy: the Pennyland low-energy housing
project - results and lessons, Energy Policy, Vol. 14, No. 5,pp 447-450YAC
Mcgregor GS (1979) Energy conservation in urban and regional planning: the
Davis experience, AIAA Monographs, Vol. 25, pp 125-136. Conference: Proc of
the Soc and Aerosp technol workshop, Nov 15 1979, Los Angeles, CA,USA.
Diamond L, (1983) Energy efficient community and sub-division design for
Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia: passive solar and other dimensions, American
Solar Energy Soc Inc, pp 525-530, ISBN: 0-89553-127-5
Dunphy RT, Fisher K, (1996) Transportation, Congestion, and Density: New
Insights, Transportation Research Record, Volume 1552, pp 89-96.


Advanced Heat Pumps

Supervisor / Contact: Professor NJ Hewitt

Brief Description
Development of concepts that allow the efficient delivery of higher water
temperatures for UK domestic retrofit applications

Solar Energy
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


Supervisor / Contact: Professor NJ Hewitt

Brief Description
The role of concentration in either photovoltaic or solar hermal applications

Bioenergy & Clean Combustion

Supervisor / Contact: Professor NJ Hewitt

Brief Description
Techno-economic assessment of novel systems that reduce environmental
impact of energy through aspects of carbon reduction and carbon capture.

Regional governance and transport planning in Northern Ireland

Supervisor / Contact: Professor Julian Hine (BERI, RPP), Professor Jim Berry
(BERI, RPP)

Other Details
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: DEL-VCRS
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
This project will examine the role of government in the development and delivery
of transport planning strategies. In Northern Ireland the Review of Public
Administration has recommended the introduction of larger local authorities with
transport planning powers, in addition there has been debate for sometime about
the management of public transport operations in Northern Ireland culminating in
a recent proposal by direct rule ministers to introduce a Passenger Transport
Authority for Northern Ireland. This work will look at different models of local
government structure and agency arrangements in the UK and elsewhere
concerned with the delivery and governance of transport. It is envisaged that
data collection will incorporate stakeholder surveys of users and policy makers
combined with detailed case studies of policy and governance in different parts of
the UK and Europe.




Car culture and city design

Supervisor / Contact: Professor Julian Hine (BERI, RPP) and Professor Hisham
Elkadi (BERI, Architecture)

Other Details
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: DEL-VCRS
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
This project will explore the impact that car culture has had on the design of
place and development of design and site planning control and policy. The
project will seek to identify the extent of how design of the public realm is codified
for the automobile in Northern Ireland built environment. The research will also
seek to explore the relationship between policy and public preferences and how
professional and public views are accommodated in the design process. It is
envisaged that a case study approach will be developed that seeks to identify the
processes and issues that are associated with the development of spaces and
places associated with car culture. The project will also involve the collection of
detailed qualitative data from design professionals, user groups, and operators
on the design process and the reaction to policy and design guidance
parameters.

Design, access and security in public transport infrastructure

Supervisor / Contact: Professor Julian Hine (BERI, RPP) and Professor Hisham
Elkadi (BERI, Architecture)

Other Details
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: DEL-VCRS
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
This project will explore the scope of design control and its operation in the
creation and management of public transport infrastructure (terminals, stations,
stops and routes). The research will also seek to explore the relationship
between policy and public preferences and how professional and public views
are accommodated in the design process. It is envisaged that a case study
approach, following a systematic review of best cases, will be developed that
seeks to identify the processes and issues that are associated with the
development of public transport infrastructure at different scales. The project will
also review the changing definitions and requirements of „security‟ in transport
infrastructure. The project will also involve the collection of detailed qualitative
data from design professionals, user groups, and operators on the design
process and the reaction to policy and design guidance parameters.

Young people's attitudes towards sustainable transport
                    PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


Supervisor / Contact: Professor Julian Hine (BERI, RPP), Dr. Banihan Gunay
(BERI, RPP)

Other Details
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: DEL-VCRS
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
This project will explore the attitudes of young people towards walking, cycling
and public transport use and their patterns of travel behaviour. In Northern
Ireland, as with other parts of the UK, there are concerns about the effect of
increased household car use on health and activity levels of children whether it
be for journeys to school or leisure trips. This work will examine the attitudes held
towards sustainable modes of transport and how young people view car use. The
work will seek to identify measures that can be used to challenge existing
patterns of travel behaviour.



Ageing and Mobility: A life history approach to the study of changing
personal mobility

Supervisor / Contact: Professor Julian Hine (BERI, RPP)

Other Details
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: DEL-VCRS
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
This project will explore the linkages between ageing and changing personal
circumstances amongst older people in rural and urban areas of Northern
Ireland. The use of a life history approach to the study of changing patterns of
personal mobility will allow the study of linkages between quality of life and
wellbeing amongst these age groups. The work will also focus on how the
different phases of the lifecycle impact on transport choices and household
location. The life history approach has not been used in transport studies to
examine changes in mobility. This data collection approach will allow for the
collection of rich qualitative data on travel, daily needs and activity patterns over
the lifecycle. It will also allow the detailed exploration of issues to do with health,
independence and autonomy.
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


Managing Cash Flow and its Inherent Risks in PPP/PFI Projects

Supervisor / Contact: Dr Henry Odeyinka and Dr Srinath Perera
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Procuring construction projects using the Public Private Partnership (PPP) and or
Private Finance Initiative (PFI) is gaining in popularity in the UK construction
sector. Undoubtedly, a huge financial commitment and a lot of risk factors are
involved in PPP/PFI construction procurement. A major attraction of this
procurement method is the flexibility of transferring risks to the party that is best
and able to bear it. This project aims to review and assess cash flow
management approaches in PPP/PFI projects in differing situations and project
coalitions. It will also involve the identification and assessment of risk factors
impacting cash flow forecast in PPP/PFI projects. It is expected that the research
will consider the potential to create models for assessing risk impacts on cash
flow forecast in PPP/PFI construction projects.


Modelling Risk Impacts on Construction Clients’ Cash Flow Forecast

Supervisor / Contact: Dr Henry Odeyinka and Dr Srinath Perera
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
The need for a reliable prediction of client‟s cash flow cannot be
overemphasized. This is because a prior knowledge of project cash flow
requirements helps the construction client to anticipate his likely future financial
commitments and to pro-actively plan for them as well. Different researchers
have made efforts to provide simpler and quicker techniques to assist both the
client and contractors in forecasting their cash flow requirements. However, risk
in construction has been identified as one of the inhibiting factors in achieving the
desired level of accuracy of cash flow forecast. This project aims to review and
assess construction client‟s cash flow management approaches in different
project situations. It also aims to assess and model risk impacts on construction
clients‟ cash flow forecast. It is expected that the outcome of the research will
provide a more reliable prediction of client‟s cash flow as likely changes to
client‟s cash flow pattern due to risk occurrence are expected to be evident from
the eventual model envisaged in the research. In addition, the project will aim at
developing a maturity capability model which is expected to assist in determining
the maturity levels of client organisations in devising and using risk impact
models in their cash flow forecasting activities.


The Development and Validation of Models for Assessing Risk Impacts on
the Cost of Traditional and Design and Build Projects
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment



Supervisor / Contact: Dr Henry Odeyinka and Dr Srinath Perera
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Risk is inherent in construction from inception to completion stages of a project‟s
life. The less information is available at the inception of a construction project, the
higher the level of risks and uncertainties. Whilst it is a known fact that the risk
factors inherent in a construction project are responsible for the deviation
between the budgeted and actual project costs, how these risk factors combine
to impact the project cost is the concern of this study. The project aims to identify
and assess the risk factors impacting the budgeted cost of traditionally procured
building projects as well as design and build projects. In addition, the project
aims to assess and model risk impacts on the budgeted cost of traditional and
design and build projects. It is expected that the outcome of the research will
provide a pro-active means of dealing with uncertainty in the out turn cost of
building projects due to risk factors inherent in construction. This is because the
anticipated model is expected to predict the out turn cost in the face of risk
occurrence.

Assessing Risk Impacts on the Budgetary Reliability of Design Stage
Elemental Cost Plan

Supervisor / Contact: Dr Henry Odeyinka and Dr Srinath Perera
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Cost planning is a system of relating the design of buildings to their cost, so that
while taking full account of quality, utility and appearance, the cost is planned to
be within the economic limit of expenditure. Design stage cost planning is
particularly crucial as decisions made during the early stages of the development
process carry more far-reaching economic consequences than the relatively
limited decisions which can be made later in the process. However, it is a known
fact that no matter how much care and effort is put into the preparation of design
stage elemental cost plan; deviations are usually observed between the
elemental cost plan and the actual elemental cost. The major reason for this is
risk which is inherent in both design and construction. Whilst it is recognised that
the risk factors exist, the traditional way of dealing with them is to make a
percentage allowance in form of contingencies allowance. This project aims to
establish by research, the likely risk factors at design stage that may be
responsible for deviation between the broad outline cost plan at the
inception/feasibility stage and the scheme/detail design stage. In addition, the
project also aims to review and assess the risk factors at project level that may
impact design stage elemental cost plan. It is envisaged that models will be
developed which can be used to pro-actively predict deviation in cost in advance
in the face of risk occurring.
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment



Auto-catch: automatic detection of drink-driving by image processing

Supervisor / Contact: Dr Banihan Gunay and Prof Julian Hine
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
A large proportion of road traffic accidents are caused by alcohol impaired
driving. These are largely detected manually by police officers at high costs. For
example only a proportion of drink-drivers are caught by breath tests either by
random checks or by stopping vehicles driven suspiciously. However, information
technology (IT) applications in the transport sector are growing every day offering
more automation in various aspects. Catching offenders has been the task of the
police force. In addition to the random checks they perform, normally suspicious
drivers are seen, stopped, and examined at the cost of valuable time of police
officers. The proposed system will distinguish between normal and suspicious
lateral movements by image processing, automatically, without interrupting
traffic, like the breath tests. Vehicle identification will be carried out from vehicle
registration plates through image processing. Two major pieces of research were
carried out by TRL (2002), in the UK and van Winsum, et al. (2000), in the
Netherlands, to ascertain the effects of certain driver distractions (i.e. drink
driving, mobile phone use and drowsiness) by using various driving simulators.
The proposed research will adopt the methods used by these studies to serve
the objectives. The TRL report found a clear trend for significantly poorer driving
performance when using a hand-held phone in comparison to the other
conditions. Driving performance under the influence of alcohol was significantly
worse than normal driving. Van Winsum, et al. established a successful
technique to measure TLC (time-to-line crossing), as an indication of driving
impairment to be used by in-vehicle driver warning systems. The calculations of
Van Winsum, et al. will definitely play an important role in the "speed of lateral
shift" based algorithms of present research in association with the technique
developed by Gunay earlier. The proposed research can be divided into two
stages: In Stage 1, only off-line tests will be carried out on the pictures that have
been already taken from traffic flow films. Stage 2 will provide the infrastructure
where real-time images are analysed by means of the algorithms provided by the
previous stage. As a result of this piece of research, the dissemination of the
detection results will be a possible application of the system on demand,
especially for the interested authorities, like police. The second stage will be the
integration of existing registration plate recognition systems with the proposed
system.


Tube-power: development of special polymer tubes on the road surface
use to power roadside turbines

Supervisor / Contact: Dr Banihan Gunay and Dr David Woodward
Campus: Jordanstown
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment



Brief Description
Recent research has emphasised the need for renewable energy use and
sustainable transport in particular. Energy Saving Trust (2002) has detailed a
green-transport strategy for the year 2020, where future vehicles were reviewed
and the infrastructure needed for some of those vehicles were mentioned. This
extensive report shows the need for every possible effort towards sustainable
transport solutions. When compared with other modes of transport, road vehicles
have been blamed for the greatest contribution to congestion, air pollution and
solid waste. Within road transport, private cars and goods lorries have carried the
majority of the responsibility for these unpaid externalities. Reducing, or at least
limiting, the number of vehicles on the road is one way of tackling the problem.
On the other hand, making use of the presence of those vehicles that are already
on the road may be another solution. In other words, road vehicles may be
facilitated in a way that their existence on the roads can be productive rather than
fully consuming. CAST (2003), supervised by Gunay, has been investigating the
use of electricity to melt the ice on the roads as an alternative to the existing salt-
based solutions which have various disadvantages. The energy to do this,
however, needs to be justified from the environment point of view. This energy
may be obtained form sustainable energy sources. The proposal therefore
introduces a different way of producing electricity directly from the weight of the
road vehicles. Produced energy can be used, not only for de-icing, but also for
illumination and signals, or it can be transferred to national grid. The weight of
the vehicles will be used to apply pressure on a specially designed road surface
material that contains plastic tubes. When the vehicle passes over the system, its
wheels will squeeze the rubber tubes and as the vehicle moves, the air trapped
will be driven into the main collector. Main limitation of the system is wear and
tear of the tubes. The challenge of the research, therefore, is to find the best
material, and optimum diameter of the tubes with necessary design and tests.



Modelling Driving Disorder:

Supervisor / Contact: Dr Banihan Gunay and Dr Imelda Haran
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Dangerous driving (including joy-riding, drugs/alcohol impaired driving, using
mobile phones and sleep disorder) contributes to accidents and is largely
detected manually by police officers at high costs. If, however, certain vehicle
movements and their association with dangerous driving are understood properly
and fed into the existing IT technologies, these systems can offer better road
safety. There is definitely need for this understanding as the issue of vehicle
movements in the lateral direction have received little attention over the years.
Also, driver distractions such as, adjusting radio (caste/CD players), moving
                  PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


object in-vehicle, smoking related activities, outside person (object/event) have
been studied by others and many accidents have been associated with these
causes. For example, Stutts and Hunter reported that about 13% of crashes
occurred in their study sample were resulted by driver distraction. Eby and
Vivoda found that 2.7% of drivers in Michigan were using a mobile phone at any
given moment during daylight hours. They also confirmed that this rate was
consistent with the US national rate reported by NHTSA. Although the causes of
dangerous driving are subject to different legal regulations, they all have a
common feature that this piece of research is interested in, i.e. irregular and
dangerous driving patterns, in particular lateral driving disorder (i.e. poor lane
keeping). The overall aim of this research, therefore, is to provide, through
modelling, a better understanding of vehicle movements in the lateral direction
and use these models to detect dangerous and/or impaired driving situations by
existing surveillance systems. Gunay has been studying lateral characteristics of
traffic flow on multilane highways in various countries. His theoretical and
empirical findings detailed a number of issues such as lateral distribution and
lane-based-driving discipline. Based on his results and the results of similar
studies, it can be stated that lateral vehicular movements take place according to
certain rules. Any lateral displacement outside these rules can be assumed as
abnormal with a suspicious reason and may be worth paying attention. For
example, lane following (i.e. lane-based-driving) has a discipline. Therefore major
lateral discipline-based thresholds will be constructed on (a) the speed of lateral
shift, and (b) smoothness of lane and curve following. Other indicators will be:
driving in the middle of the road (occupying both lanes simultaneously and
continuously), especially in rural roads, driving (partially or completely) on the
hard shoulder, weaving in traffic, extremely fast return to the original position
from another undesired lateral location, and so on.

Since driving simulators are ideal tools for controlled experiments, such as the
investigation of the effects of drink driving on driving skills and to understand
normal and abnormal driving patterns, a small scale driving simulator will be set
up here at the university and be used for this purpose.




Probability based development of a software on algorithms of
detection of intentional following

Supervisor / Contact: Dr Banihan Gunay and Dr Mark McCartney
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Vehicle tracking technologies, such as automatic number plate recognition
(ANPR), have been advancing rapidly. In the near future it will be possible to
track nearly all vehicles on a network by means of various methods available at
that time. Because of the small percentage of vehicles which are fitted with on-
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


board vehicle identifications devices, ANPR currently continues to dominate the
available vehicle tracking technology. ANPR is a mass surveillance method that
uses optical character recognition on images to read the licence plates on
vehicles. Systems can now scan number plates at around one per second on
cars travelling up to 160 km/h. Over the past a few years, vendors, technologies
and even number plate designs have evolved considerably. Various companies
and governmental organisations have been using ANPR in various areas, such
as speed cameras, car parks, gated communities, airport security, traffic
monitoring, and CCTV systems. Research has mainly concentrated on the
accuracy of the recognition and the technological improvements of these
systems. When these technologies are widely in practice, crime investigation
services will benefit more from these systems provided they have findings of the
proposed research. This project will introduce a new application area of these
systems by developing detection algorithms to identify those vehicles that may
be in a suspicious following act on a road network. Consider an investigation
where the police want to find out whether a particular vehicle was intentionally
followed by a vehicle, or whether a vehicle intentionally followed any other
vehicle. Even approximate answers to these questions, leading to resolving a
crime, would be an invaluable clue. The project will investigate the problem for
two types of networks: those that are assumed to be fully covered with vehicle
recognition systems and those that are partially covered with these systems. In
other words, the former assumes that every link in the network has some sort of
vehicle (or number plate) recognition device, meaning that the path of every
individual vehicle is known without any missing link. In the latter, the links
equipped with these systems will be called "a smart link" and the ones without
any recognition camera, etc. will be called "a blind link". Analytical analysis of the
factors affecting the problem is almost impossible mainly because of the large
number of combinations of these factors and their stochastic nature, such as the
desired speed distributions of drivers. Therefore, a simulation methodology will
be provided to demonstrate the best approach to determine a threshold between
random and intentional following for the filtering process. In small networks,
these algorithms can be implemented manually. For example, the user can look
at the lists of number plates obtained form few points on the network and check
to see if there is any suspicious following. However in large networks, with many
ANPR points, a piece of software can quickly identify these potential followers. It
will become possible to capture the registration plates of every vehicle, their link
arrival times, routes, OD patterns, etc. This will then be a valuable database if
these pieces of information are stored continually. However to store such a large
amount of data requires huge resources. Thus, the algorithms provided will be
able to filter the data before their storage. Depending on the user's preference on
the filtering percentage, the system will be able to eliminate probable
unintentional following, and store only high possibilities of intentional following
cases. Depending on the filtering level of choice, the algorithm will decide to
"ignore" or "store", resulting in a huge computing resource saving. Another
benefit of this study will be to provide increased accuracy to the existing number
plate recognition systems.
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment




CO poisoning in compartment fires: Bioengineering Model of Carbon
Monoxide Poisoning in Compartment Fires

Supervisor/Contact: Professor VB Novozhilov, Dr W Byers

Other Details
Period: August 2008 - August 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: VCRS
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is the most important toxic substance produced in fires
and it accounts for the majority of deaths occurring in residential fires.
Although the lethal dose for CO has been well established, uncertainty still
remains regarding the actual process of CO accumulation in human blood. The
rate of CO accumulation in any specific case may depend a number of variables
including the rate and depth of breathing, the age of a recipient, any pathological
condition they may be suffering from and the level of physical activity.
The project will develop a Computational Fluid Dynamics model for airflow in the
human respiratory system and combine this with an alveolar diffusion model. The
latter will serve to establish the actual rates of CO diffusion across the walls of
the alveoli into the blood vessels. This will enable realistic intoxication times to be
predicted for a variety of breathing patterns.
The project is very innovative in that it relates the two previously unconnected
fields of Fire Safety and Bioengineering. It will offer an ideal opportunity for an
enthusiastic PhD candidate wishing to pursue multi-disciplinary research with
clear practical applications.



Fire Suppression with Water Mist: Computational Modeling of Fire
Suppression with Water Mist

Supervisor/Contact: Professor VB Novozhilov, Professor M Delichatsios

Other Details
Period: August 2008 - August 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: VCRS
Campus: Jordanstown
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment



Brief Description
Interest to water mist as fire suppressing agent has steadily increased over last
decade due to phase-out of halons and absence of a suitable alternative.
The present project will develop advanced computational model of mist
dynamics, interaction with fire and suppression. The emphasis will be made on
development of accurate fluid dynamics model which will predict mist distribution
in the enclosure and evaporation under fire heating conditions. It is envisaged
that Large Eddy Simulation technique will be used in conjunction with the
Lagrangian water droplet tracking. The two-phase flow model will be vigorously
tested against available experimental data.
The necessity of subgrid-scale model of particle dispersion will be investigated.
Extensive laboratory and computational facilities, existing at The Institute of Fire
Safety Engineering and Technology, University of Ulster, will be used to conduct
the project. The Institute is a world-known comprehensive facility for Fire Safety
Engineering studies, and comprises inter-disciplinary research team. The project
has a strong potential for further collaborative research and links with local and
overseas research and commercial organisations.



Fundamentals of Smoke Suppression in Polymers: Fundamentals of
Physio-chemical Processes in Flame Retardation and Smoke Suppression
in Polymers Containing Metallic Hydroxide Additive Systems

Supervisor/Contact: Professor VB Novozhilov, Professor James McLaughlin,
Dr. Paul Joseph

Other Details
Period: August 2008 - August 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: VCRS
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Fundamentals of Physio-chemical Processes in Flame Retardation and Smoke
Suppression in Polymers Containing Metallic Hydroxide Additive Systems
Fire is one of the major hazards affecting modern life, its destructive potential
manifesting itself principally in terms of humans suffering and loss of property.
Consequently, considerable efforts are being made to reduce the hazards
associated with fire. There is little doubt that the introduction of plastics and other
synthetic materials as replacements for traditional materials in construction,
insulation, packing, upholstery and transport applications, has been a major
factor in the increased incidence and severity of fires. In addition, fires involving
these materials are considerably more smoky; a real concern since it is now well
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


established that smoke inhalation accounts for over 80% of all fire fatalities.
Although the actual cause of death is almost always asphyxiation by toxicants
such as carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide, particulate smoke itself is a
primary hazard because of its inherent opacity and its irritating effects on the
eyes and respiratory system. In many fire situations, victims are disorientated
and incapacitated long before the effects of heat and oxygen depletion reach
critical levels. Smoke also hinders the entry of fire fighters, and for this reasons,
low smoke polymer formulations are in great demand, particularly for applications
in aerospace, mining and under ground transit systems.
The aim of this project is to investigate the thermal/thermo-oxidative behaviours,
flame retardance and smoke/toxic gas production in some commercially
important chain-growth polymers (for example, polypropylene and ethylene-co-
vinyl acetate), in fires, so as to formulate and to optimise the use of metallic
hydroxides (for example, magnesium hydroxide and layered double hydroxide
like hydrotalcite) as fire retardants and smoke suppressants. Furthermore,
synergistic combination(s) of these with phosphorus and/ or boron-containing
flame retardant(s) will be explored with a view of reducing the overall loadings of
the hydroxidic additive so as to get optimal properties with regards to adequate
flame retardancy and low levels of smoke and toxic gas production. When
appropriate values for the intrinsic properties of the materials under investigation
and the relevant experimental parameters of their overall fire behaviour are
established, we propose to develop simple mathematical model(s) describing the
smoke production and flame propagation behaviours in these systems.


LES Modeling of Pool Fires: Large Eddy Computational Modeling of Pool
Fires

Supervisor/Contact: Professor VB Novozhilov, Professor M Delichatsios

Other Details
Period: August 2008 - August 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: VCRS
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Pool fires have been focus of fire research and model validation for decades.
Still, there are remaining issues regarding behaviour and especially
computational modelling of such fires.
Large Eddy Simulation technique has recently become popular for fire problems,
and studies on pool flame modelling have appeared. However, this innovative
technique has not yet been sufficiently developed and validated.
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The emphasis of the project will be made on accurate temperature and near-field
flow structure predictions in buoyant flames. Large Eddy simulation code will be
supplemented with a suitable combustion model.
Experimental investigation will be performed in support of the model
development. This will include temperature and velocity measurements. The PIV
laser system is available for accurate diagnostic of flow field.
Extensive laboratory and computational facilities, existing at The Institute of Fire
Safety Engineering and Technology, University of Ulster, will be used to conduct
the project. The Institute is a world-known comprehensive facility for Fire Safety
Engineering studies, and comprises inter-disciplinary research team. The project
has a strong potential for further collaborative research and links with local and
overseas research and commercial organisations.


Radiation Modeling for Fires: Advanced Radiation Modeling for
Compartment Fires

Supervisor/Contact: Professor VB Novozhilov, Professor M Delichatsios

Other Details
Period: August 2008 - August 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: VCRS
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Accurate prediction of radiation field is essential part of Computational Fluid
Dynamics (CFD) models for fire research.
Commonly, radiation is modelled in fire studies using Discrete Ordinate Method
(DOM), Discrete Transfer Method (DTM), finite-volume method (FVM) or some
other methods.
Emergence of innovative fire modelling techniques, such as Large Eddy
Simulation (LES) makes it reasonable to re-think approaches to radiation
modelling and its coupling with the other CFD submodels.
The motivation comes from the two facts: 1. Consideration of temperature
fluctuations is likely to be important for radiation prediction in fires, as suggested
by some existing studies. This effect has not been thoroughly considered in fire
modelling up to the present moment. LES technique, on the other hand allows
predictions (al least largest) fluctuations in temperature to be made. There is a
need, therefore, for an effective computationally tractable technique which will
allow advantages of LES to be translated into advanced radiation propagation
predictions.
2. The above-mentioned conventional methods has well known difficulties, most
limiting of those probably being sensitivity to the angular discretization. In many
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cases, for example in modelling of ignition of remote objects, this is a severe
computational restriction.
Statistical (Monte Carlo) modelling has been shown recently to be able to remove
many of existing limitations in at a reasonable cost. The potential of this method
will be further investigated.
Experimental investigations, where possible, will be made in support of the model
development.
Extensive laboratory and computational facilities, existing at The Institute of Fire
Safety Engineering and Technology, University of Ulster, will be used to conduct
the project. The Institute is a world-known comprehensive facility for Fire Safety
Engineering studies, and comprises inter-disciplinary research team. The project
has a strong potential for further collaborative research and links with local and
overseas research and commercial organisations.



Soot formation in laminar flames: Modeling of soot formation in laminar
flames using global soot formation model

Supervisor/Contact: Professor VB Novozhilov, Professor M Delichatsios

Other Details
Period: June 2008 - June 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: VCRS
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Soot formation is one of the central issues in behaviour of turbulent, radiation-
controlled fires. Complexity of chemical processes associated with soot formation
still hinders the progress in computational fire modelling. As a simplified way
around this problem, global soot formation model, which relates soot formation
mechanism of the fuel to the smoke point of the laminar flame, has been
proposed by Delichatsios. As a first step for the model verification, prediction of
laminar flames has to be made, and predicted smoke points and radiation are to
be compared with those available from laminar buoyant jet experiments in solid
and gaseous flames. The project will focus on Computational Fluid Dynamic
modelling of laminar flames, using the proposed soot formation model. Smoke
point flame heights and radiative losses from flames will be predicted and
compared with measurements. The study will provide essential verification of a
simplified soot formation model for future application for turbulent combustion of
solids in fires.
Extensive laboratory and computational facilities, existing at The Institute of Fire
Safety Engineering and Technology, University of Ulster, will be used to conduct
the project. The Institute is a world-known comprehensive facility for Fire Safety
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


Engineering studies, and comprises inter-disciplinary research team. The project
has a great potential for further collaborative research, links with overseas
organisations and practical applications.



Predicting the Durability of Asphalt Surfacing Mixes

Supervisor/Contact: Dr WDH Woodward, Professor AR Woodside

Other Details:
Period: September 2008 - August 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: DEL
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description:
This project will consider the durability of modern asphalt surfacing materials and
involve collaborator with a leading highway construction company. The project
builds on an established record of industrial collaborative research that seeks to
understand the processes involved and the response of asphalt surfacing
materials to trafficking. This project will concentrate on establishing best practise
in terms of utilising materials to ensure long life under the ideals of sustainable
construction.


Predicting the Skid Resistance of Asphalt Mixes

Supervisor/Contact: Dr WDH Woodward, Professor AR Woodside

Other Details:
Period: September 2008 - August 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: DEL
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description:
This project will consider the prediction of skid resistance of asphalt surfacing
mixes in collaboration with leading UK and Irish highway construction companies.
The project builds on an established record of industrial collaborative research
that seeks to understand the processes involved and the response of asphalt
surfacing materials to trafficking. This project will concentrate on establishing
correlation between predictive laboratory testing and the monitoring of road trials
sites.
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment




Sustainable Development Measurement

Supervisors/Contact: W Alan Strong, Dr LA Hemphill
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
The need to consistently measure the Sustainability of a region has been the
responsibility of governments across Europe with the „UK Shared Framework for
Sustainable Development‟ committing Northern Ireland to its own SD indicator
set. This systematic approach sets indicators against 6 pillars which cover
Economic, Environmental and Social areas. In contrast, this Study will also be
applicable to projects and concepts, and will approach SD Measurement by
identifying key themes such as Waste, Water and Energy and developing
„SMART indicators‟, thereby being capable of giving regular quarterly reports
which can be used for developments and quality of life decisions.

Sustainable Communities Modelling

Supervisors: W Alan Strong, Dr LA Hemphill
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Government Planning Policy Statements and Guidance are under-scored by the
need for sustainable development to be central at all decision points, and this is
significant in the development of hamlet and villages, where there is a need for
sensitive cross-over between the built and natural environments. The nature,
scale, and context of each new development are unique as they are influenced
by issues such as infrastructure, topography, environment and population. This
study will develop a model which will address all the variables in „planning and
delivering a Sustainable Community‟, to ensure that the essential ingredients are
included to ensure „quality of life‟. The model will serve to inform the viability of
new developments and the potential to retrofit existing developments, and will be
calibrated through access to a range of international „sustainable communities‟.

Sustainable Urban Drainage Performance

Supervisors/Contact: W Alan Strong, Professor AR Woodside, Dr LA Hemphill
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) have been designed and installed
for several years to alleviate flooding and provide additional amenities.
Considerable research has focussed separately on the financial and
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environmental benefits of SuDS. In contrast this study will accumulate the
economic, environmental and social aspects of a range of SuDS applications by
developing, calibrating and testing a Model which will inform decisions at the
stages of Design, Construction and Maintenance of SuDS Systems.


Sustainability in Residential Design and Construction

Supervisors/Contact: Dr. LA Hemphill; W Alan Strong
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
The UK Code for Sustainable Homes - a new national standard for sustainable
design and construction of new residential homes was launched in December
2006. The Code measures the sustainability of a new home against categories
of sustainable design, rating the „whole home‟ as a complete package. This
project seeks to analyse the suitability of the Code for Sustainable Homes and its
EcoHomes precedessor in creating a genuine impact on residential sustainability,
and contributing to Sustainable Communities.

Modelling Local Quality of Life

Supervisors/Contact: Dr. LA Hemphill; Prof. WS McGreal
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
„Area profiles‟ is a pioneering Audit Commission pilot project to test the feasibility
of bringing together all the data, information and assessments about local quality
of life and services. This project will investigate the effectiveness of „area
profiles‟ in measuring local quality of life, by developing a model which will be
capable of identifying the key attributes that differentiate between successful and
non-successful local sustainability projects. Similarly, the impact of „community
leadership‟ in effectively managing the local sustainability process will be
investigated.

Fiscal incentives in urban regeneration

Supervisors/Contact: Prof S McGreal and Prof A Adair
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Recent UK policy has seen a movement towards the use of fiscal measures/tax
breaks in the bid to stimulate investment into inner city areas and disadvantaged
wards. This has taken the form of different incentives such as the relaxation on
stamp duty, various capital allowances, VAT exemption etc. Other countries such
as Ireland have utilised capital allowances effectively and in the US, schemes
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


such as tax incremental financing (TIFs) and business improvement districts
(BIDs). This study seeks to analyse the efficiency of taxation exemptions and
breaks as a means of stimulating urban economies and examines the extent to
which investment in the real estate sector has been delivered.




Cross-border and diversification strategies in Europe

Supervisors/Contact: Prof S McGreal and Prof J Berry
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
This project seeks to analyse the scope and extent of cross-border investment
strategies in real estate in European markets. The research is envisaged to be
from a behavioral perspective and in particular to analyse the motives of
investors and whether diversification benefits are achievable. A second aspect of
the research is the analysis of long-term investment returns in European markets
and through the development of portfolio models the assessment of likely
diversification benefits of a property portfolio including UK and European assets.

Urban competitiveness and real estate markets

Supervisors/Contact: Prof S McGreal and Prof J Berry
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
This project assesses the extent to which urban competitiveness is a function of
real estate markets. In the UK there is currently a major debate on the lack of
competitiveness of many major cities compared to counterparts in Europe.
Indeed work by the Core Cities group have identified that outside of London, the
GDP of many major urban centres in the UK is lagging. This project seeks to
examine the components of urban competitiveness and analyses the extent to
which the presence of efficient and effective real estate markets are a
requirement of a vibrant urban economy.

Analysis of performance returns of property companies

Supervisors/Contact: Prof S McGreal and Prof A Adair
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Investment into property companies provides an indirect route to investment in
the real estate sector. From an investor perspective it is important to be able to
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


assess the performance of indirect real estate against direct real estate. This
project seeks to develop the knowledge base in this area by providing an
analysis of the performance of property companies. The project is comparative in
nature and should examine property companies in the major European markets,
by sector as determined by their portfolio weightings and investment style as
determined by company strategy.




An assessment of the role of the planning system in facilitating investment
opportunities

Supervisors/Contact: Prof S McGreal and Prof J Berry
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
The UK planning system has attracted much recent criticism concerning its
bureaucratic nature and slowness in reaching decisions. Given that development
involves a significant capital layout with potentially high risk and that the market
cycle may have moved into a different phase by the time planning decisions are
reached, the potential exists for opportunities to be missed. This research seeks
to address whether the planning process through delays is resulting in a
significant loss of private sector investment in the property sector and the impact
that this may have on the competitiveness of the UK economy.

Economic corridors as a focus for real estate investment

Supervisors/Contact: Prof S McGreal and Prof J Berry
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
The research question underpinning this project is whether economic corridors
as identified in spatial planning at a European, national, regional or cross-border
level become the focus of investment activity in the real estate sector. This study
will adopt a comparative methodology in the assessment of economic corridors
as a focus for the relocation of activities or the emergence of new businesses
with an evaluation of the extent to which such corridors attract significant real
estate and investment activity.



Fire and explosion safety of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


Supervisors/Contact: Prof V Molkov, Dr D Makarov

Period: 2008 - 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Hydrogen-fuelled vehicles are already on the road, including cars from OEMs like
BMB, Honda, GM, etc. Fire and explosion hazard of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles is
not yet understood well, especially its performance in garages, maintenance
shops, tunnels, car parks. Understanding of underlying physical phenomena is
necessary to prevent and/or mitigate consequences in case of accidental leak of
hydrogen in infrastructure. The main thrust will be on large eddy simulation (LES)
of realistic scenarios involving releases, dispersion and combustion of hydrogen
released from a vehicle in different environment. Special attention will be paid to
permeation of high pressure hydrogen from on-board tank in confined spaces like
a garage. Performance of storage tank in external fire conditions with working
and blocked PRD (pressure relieve device) will be investigated. Techniques to
mitigate hydrogen releases, jet fires and explosions from vehicles will be
addressed to reduce fire and explosion hazards of hydrogen driven cars to the
level of today's fossil-fuelled vehicles. The objective of this PhD study to overview
state-of-the-art of hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles and develop recommendations
for reduction of relevant risks.


Modelling and numerical simulation of hydrogen-air detonations

Supervisors/Contact: Prof V Molkov, Dr D Makarov

Period: 2008 - 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
There are two kinds of hydrogen explosions, i.e. subsonic deflagrations and
supersonic detonations. The propensity of hydrogen to deflagration-to-detonation
transition (DDT) is well known and should be addressed by hydrogen safety
engineering. Detonation is the worst case scenario for accidents involving
unscheduled releases of hydrogen and DDT should be prevented or its
consequences mitigated. The original methodology of the University of Ulster to
model and numerically simulate large scale detonations will be developed further
from 1D to 3D case and applied to complex geometries. The large eddy
simulation (LES) model of detonation will be validated against experiments
performed by partners in Germany, USA and Russia on large scale spherical
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


hydrogen-air detonation and detonation in complex geometries. The main
objective of this study is to develop a methodology for simulation of 3D
detonation in complex geometries for hydrogen safety engineering.

Under-expanded supersonic jets, jet fires and PRD for hydrogen storage

Supervisors/Contact: Prof V Molkov, Dr D Makarov

Period: 2008 - 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Presently high pressure up to 700 bar hydrogen storage tanks are protected
against accidental rupture during external fires by pressure relieve devices of 4-6
mm diameter initiated at temperature around 110 C above atmospheric
temperature. Flammable envelope and jet fire length from such PRD are quite
large and research is needed to justify measures for their reduction. The
parameters of under-expanded supersonic jets, i.e. transient shock structure and
its interrelation to the notional nozzle concept, and jet fires, e.g. lift-off distance
and blow out velocity, will be numerically simulated for different conditions based
on the large eddy simulation (LES) model which is under development at the
University of Ulster. The objective of this study is the understanding of under-
expanded supersonic jets and jet fires and development of innovative solutions
for PRD design.


Fire and explosion hazards of pulse hydrogen jets

Supervisors/Contact: Prof V Molkov, Dr D Makarov

Period: 2008 - 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Hydrogen storage at pressures up to 1000 bar poses potential fire and explosion
hazards during sudden release of compressed gas. There are experimental
evidences of hydrogen self-ignition at storage pressures as low as 20 bars. The
mechanism of hydrogen autoignition and effect of upstream and downstream
geometries should be better understood. Tests carried out by our partners in UK
and USA indicate that overpressure generated by combustion of pulse hydrogen
jet in moderately congested environment is varying in a wide range from 0.01 bar
to 2 bar gauge depending on experimental conditions. For highly congested
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


areas very high overpressures are registered in experiments. These phenomena
have to be understood. The objective of this study is development of the model
and tool for simulation of fire and explosion effects from pulse hydrogen jets at
different realistic scenarios.

Development of open CFD code for hydrogen safety research and
engineering

Supervisors/Contact: Prof V Molkov, Dr D Makarov

Period: 2008 - 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
The Hydrogen Safety Engineering and Research (HySAFER) group at the
University of Ulster is internationally recognised team of scientists working in the
area of basic and industry-driven hydrogen safety research. The group is
performing studies related to various accidental scenarios including hydrogen
releases and dispersion, ignition and jet fires, deflagrations and detonations. The
thrust is computational fluid dynamics and its the most promising for engineering
applications approach, i.e. large eddy simulations (LES). An emerging profession
of hydrogen safety engineering needs contemporary tools for performance-based
safety design. The objective of this study is development of an open CFD code
for implementation of models developed and validated previously at the
University of Ulster and partner-institutions in the European Network of
Excellence HySafe “Safety of hydrogen as an energy carrier” (www.hysafe.org).


Effect of barriers on hydrogen releases and combustion

Supervisors/Contact: Prof V Molkov, Dr D Makarov

Period: 2008 - 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Set-back distance for hydrogen stationary applications, e.g. refuelling stations, is
an important parameter for hydrogen safety engineering. This is based on risk
assessment, i.e. characteristic frequencies for accident scenario and
consequences analysis. The consequences analysis of hydrogen release and
combustion allows assessment of safety distances, based on flammable
envelope, radiation from jet fires and pressure effects from explosions. Barriers
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are considered by different groups around the world as a method to reduce
hazard from accident involving hydrogen. However, available experimental data
are insufficient and validated models and tools are practically absent. The
objective of this study is to develop and validate models and tools for predictive
simulations of effect of various barriers on consequences of accidental hydrogen
releases, including thermal and pressure effects, at large scale for a set of typical
hydrogen refuelling stations.

Transient jet fire during high pressure hydrogen storage blowdown in the
open atmosphere and closed environment

Supervisors/Contact: Prof V Molkov, Dr D Makarov

Period: 2008 - 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
The time of total blowdown of hydrogen from typical high pressure storage
through typical pressure relieve device takes a few minutes. If escaping
hydrogen catch a fire such jet fire could be considered as not extremely
dangerous for structural elements as even not protected load bearing steel
element fire resistance rating is about 15 minutes. However, the relatively high
length of fire could initiate secondary fires with much longer duration with severe
consequences for the structure. The transient process of compressed hydrogen
blowdown from a high pressure storage tank will be modelled with aim to find
innovative technical solutions to reduce the transient flame length with a
convention of insignificant increase of blowdown time. The phenomenon of
potential self-extinction of hydrogen jet fire in closed environment like garage will
be studied numerically by the LES model which is under development at
HySAFER group of the University of Ulster.
The role of anisotropic effects in LES of large scale hydrogen deflagrations

Supervisors/Contact: Prof V Molkov, Dr D Makarov

Period: 2008 - 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Practically all models of premixed turbulent combustion are built on the
dependence of turbulent burning velocity of fluctuating, i.e. root mean square,
velocity derived from the assumption of isotropic turbulence. Other models take
into account dependence on characteristic length scales. Some recent models,
                  PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


including one developed at the University of Ulster, are based on the fractal
theory. This class of models demonstrate good performance for large scale
problems. Still there are questions on the role of anisotropic component of
turbulent flow on turbulent burning velocity. The objective of this PhD research is
development of the sub-grid combustion model for the existent Ulster LES model
of large scale deflagrations, which accounts for unresolved anisotropy of flow in
the area of combustion, and its validation against a wide range of large scale
deflagration experiments with hydrogen-air mixtures.

Initiation and suppression of hydrogen self-ignition

Supervisors/Contact: Prof V Molkov, Dr D Makarov

Period: 2008 - 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Hydrogen differs from other fuels by propensity to self-ignition during sudden
releases at pressures as low as 20 bars. This feature can be used for
development of innovative safety technologies allowing initiation of self-ignition,
e.g. in a case when formation of flammable cloud should be avoided due to
explosion hazard, or suppressed, e.g. when release takes place in the open
atmosphere. For example, a PRD (pressure relieve device) of hydrogen-fuelled
vehicle can be in the mode of ignition “suppression” when driving at sun light and
automatically switch to “initiation” mode when entering , for example a tunnel.
The objective of this study is development and validation of a model for hydrogen
self-ignition and its suppression for innovative design of PRD and similar devices
for hydrogen applications.




Safety of hydrogen and fuel cells vehicles in car parks

Supervisors/Contact: Prof V Molkov, Dr D Makarov

Period: 2008 - 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
There is a big concern of fire brigades on dealing with fires of cars fuelled by
alternative fuels like CNG, LPG and hydrogen. There is indication that impinging
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


jet fire does not affect significantly flame length of hydrogen jet fire compared to
free jet fire. This study will be focused on impinging jet fires in car park
environment. The radiation model will be developed and validated able to predict
the effect of hydrogen car fire on neighbour cars at different design of parking
place. The objective of the study is to develop the model to be applied for
performance-based design of modern car parks where hydrogen vehicles can be
parked safely.

Role of Property in the Economy

Supervisors/Contact: Prof A Adair and Prof J Berry
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Property plays a major role in the economy both as a source of personal wealth,
accounting for over 50% of national wealth, and as the basis of collateral for
corporate borrowings. More recently, mortgage rate increases have had a
significant adverse impact on consumer spending and taken a higher priority in
macro-economic planning. This study seeks to analyse the influence which the
residential and commercial property markets have on the macro-economy in
terms of corporate and personal spending activity and the respective influences
of property and business cycles at both UK and Northern Ireland levels.


FRP and Concrete in Fire: Fire Performance of FRP in Reinforced Concrete
Structures

Supervisor/Contact: Professor A Nadjai, Dr F Ali
Campus: Jordanstown

Other Details
Period: October 2008 - October 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: UU

Brief Description
FRP is used as internal reinforcement and as external reinforcement in forms,
such as wrapping and sheeting. As external reinforcement, FRP sheets are
either wrapped around columns to increase their strength and ductility, or FRP
plates are bonded to the tension face of beams or slabs to increase their flexural
strength. FRP reinforcement bars, as an alternative to traditional steel
reinforcement, are often used as a continuous internal reinforcement in concrete
structures because or their high strength, non-corrosive, non-magnetic and
lightweight properties. Until now, applications of FRP wrapping have been
restricted primarily to bridges, where fire resistance considerations are not a
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


main requirement. A potential much larger market is in rehabilitation and
strengthening of buildings. However, there are major concerns associated with
the fire behaviour of both FRPs and of FRP wrapped/reinforced concrete
elements that must be addressed before this promising technique can be used
with confidence in buildings. Some of the key aspects of fire behaviour that must
be considered in any situation include fire resistance (load bearing capacity, fire
barrier integrity, temperature rise), smoke evolution and toxicity, heat generation
characteristics, and flame spread. These factors incompletely understood in the
case of FRP composites for reinforcement and strengthening of concrete, and
subsequently require investigation.




FUSFB: Fire Performance of Ultra Shallow Floor Beams (USFB)

Supervisor/Contact: Professor A Nadjai, Dr F Ali

Other Details
Period: October 2008 - October 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: VCRS
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
In recent years, increasing interest has been shown throughout Europe in
developing and designing shallow floor systems in steel-frame buildings. In the
shallow floor system, the steel beam is contained within the depth of the precast
concrete floor or composite slab with profiled steel decks. This form of
construction achieves a minimum depth of building, and the flat floor is beneficial
because the building services can be run in any direction. The new Ultra Shallow
Floor Beams (USFB) is the most flexible and practical approach to this method of
construction. There is no standard beam size or depth. Each design is carried out
to achieve the EXACT depth specified by the Engineer or client. The aim of this
project is to investigate the failure mechanisms of the USFB a cold temperature
and the fire resistance of the composite floor behaviour using the ISO fire curve.
This project will be in collaboration with Professor Colin Bailey from Manchester
University.



FPPSB: Fire Passive Protection for repair/Strengthening Structures in
Buildings.

Supervisor/Contact: Professor A Nadjai, Dr F Ali
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment



Other Details
Period: October 2008 - October 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: VCRS
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
CRFP composites are an attractive alternative to conventional material used to
repair and strengthening concrete structures. However, the behaviour of the
epoxy adhesive used to form the bond between CFRP and concrete is very
sensitive to temperature variations. At the present, one of the main impediments
for using wrapping FRP products in buildings is the lack of knowledge about the
fire resistance of FRPs. The focus of this project is the development of
innovative, economical passive fire protection to FRP systems for the
strengthening /repair of reinforced concrete structures. As with other material
properties, there is a need for standard test methods and a national database, so
designers and manufacturers do not have to repeat fire test to convince
individual owners. Therefore it is necessary to test the fire resistance
temperature of the composite structural member systems and not just the
individual FRP components
The experimental and numerical aspects of this project have the potential to
provide essential data in several areas which currently lack systematic research.
It will underpin the current lead in expertise, which is held by UK fire engineering
designers



Masonry in Fire: Behaviour of Compartment Masonry Walls in Fire
Situations

Supervisor/Contact: Professor A Nadjai, Dr F Ali

Other Details
Period: October 2008 - October 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: VCRS
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Masonry materials have been successfully used for the construction of fire
resisting elements since the need for fire protection became apparent. In
particular masonry walls have been engineered to act as fire barriers, serving to
compartmentise fire. Fire separating walls are commonly employed in a variety of
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


constructional situations, from domestic dwellings to large industrial applications.
At the present the design based on the thermal and physical performance of
firewalls is somewhat elementary, dependent on tabulated data, which are
largely based on isolated standard firewall test results. For example BS5628 Pt.3
relates minimum wall thickness to periods of maximum fire resistance depending
on material type. Also the Eurocode 6 Pt.10 is somewhat similar to BS5628 Pt.3,
but is expanded to incorporate the magnitude of applied load. Although the codes
provide a good basis for firewall design they fail to incorporate several important
factors such as slenderness ratio and boundary conditions. It must be noted
these additional parameters have proved to be influential in several experimental
studies. Where the fire resistance of masonry elements is to be evaluated
beyond the conditions of the design code, standard fire testing is employed.
Specific guidance is given based on whether the masonry element is load
bearing or non-load bearing. This project would provide an underpinning of
expertise for the UK designers and international exporters within the building
industry. Moreover it would provide significant data valuable for the development
of current British & Euro Code on compartment masonry walls in fire situations.
As mentioned, the research team have the necessary, specific and
complementary expertise to carry out this experimental investigation in the
unique Ulster University Fire testing facilities using proven methods and
equipment.



Cellular beams in Fire: Performance of Cellular Composite Floor Beams in
Fire Situations

Supervisor/Contact: Professor A Nadjai, Dr F Ali

Other Details
Period: October 2008 - October 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: VCRS
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
There is a total absence of research studies of the performance in fire of
castellated beams. This type of beam is widely used in construction, particularly
in serviced buildings in which fire situations are likely to happen. Assumptions for
the behaviour of composite castellated beams in fire are still based on fire test
data for solid-web beams. The fire resistance of isolated unprotected steel
sections has now been well documented, and the performance-based design of
these beams at the Fire Limit State has been widely applied. Consequently the
basis of the current design procedure comes from numerous full-scale tests on
isolated steel beams, the failure of which is usually due to loss of moment
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


capacity as a result of the deterioration of steel strength as its temperature rises.
BS5950 Part 8 only provides the moment capacity method for determination of
the reduced strength of such beams in fire. At ambient temperature Eurocode 3:
Annex N is based on a simple elastic approach to design of steel members with
openings. There have been few fundamental studies of failure mechanisms of
composite floors. The flexural and shear resistances of composite CBs in fire are
the focus of this investigation. The proposed parametric programme of physical
model fire tests will provide data which will greatly enhance the level of
understanding of behaviour of composite castellated steel beams in fire. This
approach will be extended and enhanced by the integration of computer
modelling with the testing, initially for validation and rationalisation of the
behaviour, but leading to an extensive parametric study to develop a design
proposal for such members in fire.



Planning Gains and Funding of Infrastructure

Supervisors/Contact: Prof A Adair and Prof J Berry
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Alternative methods of funding infrastructure for major strategic planning projects
are being developed across the UK. The Strategic Investment Programme for
Northern Ireland is predicated upon the public sector input levering significant
private sector funding for infrastructure. This study seeks to analyse the potential
of alternative infrastructure funding mechanisms employed in the UK in particular
the effectiveness of Article 40/Section 106 agreements relative to the Milton
Keynes Tariff and modern funding approaches. The study will also encompass
the principal funding models applied at the international level.



Title: Art, Design and the Environment

Supervisors/Contact: Prof A Adair, Prof H Elkadi, Prof I Montgomery (or their
representatives)

Brief Description
Art and design are increasingly significant in the regeneration of our urban
environments. The creation of the Faculty of Art, Design and the Built
Environment acknowledges this growing importance and seeks to stimulate the
opportunities and synergies that exist at the discipline boundaries. This
study seeks to analyse the potential for art and design to influence urban
and rural environments thereby enriching and stimulating creative places for
living, work and leisure. The study will encompass synergies at the
                  PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


discipline boundaries, comparative international approaches in the role of
art, design and the environment together with implications for research,
policy and practice going forward.
                  PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment




Title: Currency Fluctuations, Capital Flows and Real Estate Markets

Supervisor / Contact: Professor Jim Berry, Professor Stanley McGreal, Paul
Scales

Other Details
Period: September 2008-September 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Candidate particulars: Degree qualification in real estate, finance or business and
good understanding of the Chinese capital and real estate markets

Brief Description:
This research project will examine the impact of fluctuations amongst the leading
currencies on capital flows and their effects on real estate investment strategies.
The research approach will consider a number of critical aspects including the
interrelationships between the leading currencies (dollar, sterling, euro, yen,
yuan); the degree to which capital flows in real estate have been influenced by
the relative strength or weakness of relevant currencies; the ability to identify
future investment flows based on historic trends; and the potential for future
outward capital flows from China into the real estate markets of Europe and the
US. Specifically the research will consider the sovereign wealth funds which
represent a country‟s surplus of savings over investments. In the case of China
which is based on an export-orientated manufacturing economy the opportunity
exists to achieve higher returns by investing internationally relative to the much
lower returns on the country‟s official reserves. In these circumstances the
research will consider the strategic nature of the approach to investment of
sovereign funds within the international context with specific reference to China.
                  PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


Title: Managing Planning and Development Risk in Large Urban
Regeneration Schemes

Supervisor/Contact: Professor Jim Berry, Professor Alastair Adair

Other Details
Period: September 2008-September 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed

Brief Description:
Bringing larger urban regeneration schemes through the planning and
development pipeline to completion requires the public and private sectors to
achieve consensus around hard and soft deal principles. Understanding the risk
and working in partnership to mitigate and share risk will facilitate decision
making, improve the quality of development/regeneration and reduce its financial
burden. The research will explore best practice approaches adopted in Europe
and elsewhere including the composition of a delivery vehicle, the approach to
planning, the choice of procurement route, the techniques of getting the best use
out of the regeneration process, the way in which public assets are used, and the
structuring of bank deals to instil partnership working by achieving the right
financial and risk balance for all parties.




Title: Planning, Design and Development: Balancing Priorities and Making
the Economics Work

Supervisor/Contact: Professor Jim Berry, Professor Alastair Adair, Professor
Gerard O‟Hare

Other Details
Period: September 2008-September 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed

Brief Description
Increasingly developers and planners in both the public and private sectors are
required to work together through the planning system to deliver quality-led
developments which are impacting on profit margins due to the high land value.
The research will consider the interrelationships between the planning process
based on the public interest including the need to deliver high quality design,
environmental quality, and sustainable development solutions; and the
development process based on economics including the need to achieve profit,
higher density, infrastructure provision and the cost of better design. The
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


research will further investigate in detail the development process, its economics
and delivery mechanisms in providing commercially viable development and high
quality design solutions balanced with the delivery of infrastructure provision,
affordable housing and community services/utilities.



Title: Town Centres: Delivering the Vision

Supervisor/Contact: Professor Jim Berry, Professor Stanley McGreal, Advisor
Andy Godfrey

Other Details
Period: September 2008-September 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed

Brief Description
This research project will consider the vision and policies for town/city centres
and the effects on business-led strategies. All too often communities and
government focus on the „policies‟ without fully grasping the „vision‟ of what they
want the policies to achieve for town centres. The town centre plays an important
role for key stakeholders including community, businesses, retail operators and
consumers. However the role and functions of town centres are frequently
challenged with the result that key questions include: should town centres be part
of the vision of what communities will look like in the future?; do we want to build
the vitality and viability of town centres?; what policies and strategies will deliver
this best?; what needs to be done to ensure that retail, leisure and cultural
activities are centred around the core of our urban areas?; or should retailing be
located away from town centres in retail parks?. The research will consider the
visioning, the policies and the mechanisms in the management and regeneration
of city/town centre functions. The focus of the research will adopt a case
study/best practice approach to town/city centre management at a UK, European
and US level. Specific consideration will be given to the outturn performance of
governance, financial structuring, business engagement and local community
empowerment as part of the bigger picture for town centres in the future.




Title: Spatial Planning and Regional Cohesion: Delivering on the East-West
Connections
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment



Supervisor/Contact: Professor Jim Berry, Professor Alastair Adair

Other Details
Period: September 2008-September 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed

Brief Description
Building upon the progress of the collaborative framework in promoting cross
border spatial planning strategies and projects of mutual benefit on the island of
Ireland this research project will consider the potential for extending spatial
planning collaboration and linkages with neighbouring Scottish regions on an
east-west axis. In promoting inter-regional co-operation and capturing the added
value from the integrated spatial planning approach to delivery, specific attention
will focus on the respective strategies and the potential for key strategic projects
to progress joint economic development, trade and investment, and tourism
between Ireland and Scotland. The research will consider the specific delivery
mechanisms for implementing core spatial planning and investment-led projects
endorsed through stakeholder engagement with key decision makers.



Transport, energy use and lifestyle

Supervisor/Contact: Professor Julian Hine, Professor Neil Hewitt, Dr Philip
Griffiths

Other Details
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: DEL-VCRS

Brief Description
Government policy has been concerned with managing transport demand and
the development of more environmentally friendly lifestyles focusing on lowering
usage of carbon fuels and promoting walking, cycling and public transport use.
This research project will be concerned with the measuring the linkages between
transport use, household energy use and lifestyle of households. The research
will involve completion of a transport/energy use diary/survey by selected
households and the development of models to explain travel behaviour and
energy use. This work will make important contribution to the debate about
demand management and how energy use can be reduced in households. The
work will also seek to identify ways in which lifestyles could be altered in order to
reduce energy use.
                  PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment




SOOT GENERATION FROM THE SOLID NNAOCOMPOISTE POLYMER TO
THE GASEOUS BURNING: The investigation of fundamental intrinsic
physico-chemical properties in fire retardant polymer nanocomposites
materials necessary for the reduction of smoke generation.

Supervisor/Contact: Michael A. Delichatsios, A. Nadjai

Other Details
Period: September 2008 - September 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: DEL/VCRS
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Smoke and toxic gas/particulate generation are crucial in causing asphyxia and
subsequently sudden loss of life apart from the loss/damage to properties.
Smoke inhalation accounts for up to 80% of all fire fatalities. Victims of fire are
often disorientated and incapacitated by smoke long before the consuming
thermal effects of heat, and oxygen depletion in the environment. Smoke also
hinders the entry of fire fighters because of its opacity and its unpredictably
spread. In addition soot ( i.e. smoke inside the flames) is the cause of high
radiation heat fluxes in fires that promote fast fire spread. On this note, the
unravelling of mechanisms of soot generation in the promising and emerging new
generation polymer nanocomposites- utilising non or reduced phosphorous
based fire retardation mechanism is paramount. This is beneficial to several
sectors, for example: household, public institutions, aerospace, mining,
underground tunnels and transit systems. This work will address both the
pathways of soot precursors in the solid phase during pyrolysis and the soot
formation and smoke generation in the gaseous phase for smoldering and
flaming conditions.




Title: FLAMES FROM ENCLOSURE FIRES OVER FAÇADES IN TALL
BULDINGS AND ATRIA
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


Supervisor/Contact: M.A. Delichatsios and A. Nadjai

Other Details
Period: September 2008 - September 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: DEL/VCRS
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Flame spread up the façade of high-rise buildings has been recognized as
serious hazard because of the high consequences. The issue becomes more
critical because new façade materials and assemblies are being continually
introduced for better insulation and durability against rain and wind. Flames and
fire spread on the external walls of a building can be initiated from fully involved
enclosure fires at a given floor of the building or atrium (i.e. a large space with
walls on all sides), from a fire in an adjacent building or other rare events as the
impact of objects such as airplanes on the building. The emphasis in this
proposal is on facade fires and fire spread from floor to floor in a building due to
fully involved (flashover) fires in a given floor . The fire hazard from fully involved
enclosure fires (sometimes called post-flashover fires) is an important part of fire
safety design of buildings because they represent the worst case fire scenario if
no other measure of fire prevention or control works. A lot of work in research
and applications has been done in this area some of which has been transferred
to practical regulatory guidelines [1-6]. Japanese scientists performed pioneering
work to determine flows and burning in enclosure fires [7-10] in 1950s. This work
was followed by new insights by many publications by Phil Thomas at the UK
Fire Research Station [11,12]. Yet, there are many uncertainties in the current
methods for determining burning rates in fully involved enclosures, the
associated heat fluxes to the structure and the properties (heights and heat
fluxes) of the flames emerging out of openings in the enclosure. The fire in the
disaster of World Trade Center and on the building in London in May are
examples of fire safety design with inadequate safety related to enclosure fires
and theis spread outside the enclosure.
Recently there has been a concerted effort to address the enclosure fires and the
flames emerging out of an opening in the enclosure. Significant work has been
performed in specifying the fully involved burning conditions in enclosures [14-16]
and how they depend on enclosure openings. Other work [17-20] has shown that
the enclosure geometry (deep and shallow compartments) affects the burning
rate inside the compartment at post flashover conditions. Deep compartments
(depth from a window opening much greater that compartment width) have been
shown to behave at post flashover differently from shallow ones because the air
entrainment rate is smaller in the former case.
The focus of this work is on how the pyrolysing fuel burns inside the enclosure,
the extent of the flames outside the enclosure opening and the heat fluxes to
external single walls, outside building corners and confined spaces such as atria
or other vertical spaces. Only steady state conditions will be investigated
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


because they produce the most severe hazards. Transient oscillatory burning
might be scientifically curious but it is not as hazardous. Recent events (e.g.
WTC, London fire) testify that current engineering practice is lacking in the
design of safe facades both on the side of predicting the fire size and on the
behaviour against fire of facade materials. A need exists for a detailed set of well-
instrumented data related to these phenomena that the new laboratory at
FireSERT at UU is superbly suited to provide. In addition, the involvement of the
principal investigator with this problem provides fundamental prior experience of
experiments and modelling of flashover phenomena and emerging flames
outside enclosures [18, 20,21, 22,23,28]. Since the first submission of this
proposal, some of the proposed tasks have advanced through (a) cooperation
with the Science University of Tokyo and (b) the PhD work of a student
supported by teh Firenet European project
Major striking conclusions from recent publications [28] form the basis for the
present proposal are summarized as: (1) In ventilation controlled conditions, all
incoming air is consumed. An appropriate energy balance including all heat
losses can provide a uniform temperature for cubic like enclosures. (2) The air
inflow rate dependence on the ventilation factor changes as the temperature
distribution in the enclosure changes from uniform (shallow room) to layered
(deep room).(3) In an enclosure, two temperature regions exist: a higher one
near the combustion volume and a lower one in the rest of the enclosure. Heat
fluxes onto the pyrolysing surfaces depend on the temperature and smoke
concentration fields that affect radiation blockage near the fuel surface. A
conservative estimate for radiative heat fluxes can use the higher temperature
and optically thick conditions.(4) From the analysis of experimental data, it has
been concluded that the pyrolysis rate dependence on the air inflow rate changes
as the temperature distribution in the enclosure changes from uniform (shallow
room) to layered (deep room).(5) The air inflow rate when mass pyrolysis rate is
maximum varies significantly with the heat flux from the flames and the effective
area of pyrolysis. This is the weakest link in the analysis requiring further
investigation (6) For ventilation controlled fully involved enclosure fires, the heat
release rate of the flames outside the enclosure due to the excess pyrolysate
would be (mF  ma / S)Hc . This heat release rate determines the flame height of
                 
emerging flames and affects the heat fluxes to the external wall. Note that flames
can be sufficiently long to extend outside the enclosure even for fuel controlled
burning conditions.
To address the pertinent issues, a programis proposed wherein for different
enclosure geometries (a) the aerothermodynamics of the enclosure fires are
examined by using gaseous burners (b) the pyrolysis rates are investigated using
sand soaked liquid pool fires of varying soot production rates, varying heats of
combustion and mass transfer numbers obtained by mixing , for example,
methanol with toluene at different proportions, (c) the flame extent outside and
heat flux exposed on the wall above the opening of the burning room are
investigated by using gaseous burners. The actual heat release rate will be
deduced by Oxygen deficiency monitoring of exhaust gases collected in a hood
available at the new JIF lab at FireSERT.
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


From the experimental results, similarity relations that unravel the physics will be
validated and extended based on recently proposed correlations [28, 29, 30 ].
Moreover, the experimental data will be used to validate a large eddy simulation
model modified in this work as it is necessary.

Extensive laboratory and computational facilities, existing at The Institute of Fire
Safety Engineering and Technology, University of Ulster, will be used to conduct
the project. The Institute is a world-known comprehensive facility for Fire Safety
Engineering studies, and comprises inter-disciplinary research team. The project
has a great potential for further collaborative research, links with overseas
organisations and practical applications.



Title: Fundamental material flammability properties

Supervisor/Contact: M.A.Delichatsios, A.Nadjai

Other Details
Period: September 2008 - September 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: DEL/VCRS
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
The most important input in fire safety design is the specification of growth and
magnitude of a fire in the built environment. This aspect is commonly referred to
as the specification of the design fire on which the selection of fire systems (e.g.,
exits, smoke management, sprinklers, fire resistance levels) depends. Currently,
the specification of design fires is, in general, based on practical rules of thumb
that are hardly related to the fire behaviour of flammable materials and their
environment. Consequently, current practices can be either over or under
conservative leading to increased cost or inadequate levels of fire safety
respectively. Thus, cost effective design for fire safety in performance based
engineering requires accurate prediction of the growth and magnitude of the fire.
Such an achievement will also provide the scientific basis for the design of fire
safe materials by identifying the mechanisms of fire retardancy.
The growth and magnitude of a fire depend on the flammability properties of
flammable materials and the burning mode of pyrolysis gases in various
configurations of fuel load, fuel distribution and the environment (e.g. enclosure
or free burning). The flammability properties are (a) the thermal and pyrolysis
properties of the solid (b) the burning properties of the pyrolysing gases and (c)
and the extinction and ignition properties of the pyrolysing gases. The
flammability properties must be independent of scale or configuration so that they
can be determined from small scale experiments and the investigation of the
                  PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


underlying physics and chemistry. Burning of materials in various configurations
is critically dominated by the heat feedback to the material from the combustion
of the pyrolysis gases in a turbulent buoyant flow. This heat feedback, leading to
increasing pyrolysis, is luminous radiation from soot, being copiously produced in
fires because fuel and oxygen are non-premixed prior to their reaction. The
burning of the pyrolysis gases, and hence their radiation and combustion
products, depend also on the composition of the air supplied for combustion
which can be ambient air or air vitiated by re-circulating combustion products.
This document addresses these chemical and physical aspects of fire from small
to large scale in a novel and comprehensive way. The experience in FireSERT at
the University of Ulster, the extensive new JIF facilities at FireSERT and the
expertise of the primary investigator and FireSERT Fire Dynamics team
guarantee the success of this program. The inspiration and concepts for the
proposal derive from the work of FireSERT and the work of the principal
investigator and his collaboration with the prestigious fire researchers and
laboratories around the world including USA, Japan, Australia, France and
currently, UK.
The aims and outline of a comprehensive program of fire research are:
1. Identify the physics and develop methodologies to determine the fundamental
    flammability properties of materials from small-scale experiments. To achieve
    this objective new analytical and experimental tools and procedures will be
    developed to extract the flammability properties of solid materials. These
    techniques can be used to identify fire retardancy mechanisms and thus,
    assist in the development of new fire safe materials.
2. Modify and validate models (simple, CFD – k- -g or LES) using these
    properties to predict the growth and magnitude of fire in large-scale
    configurations and in approval standard tests commonly used for regulatory
    purposes. This validation will be focused on simple fuel geometry (wall and
    corner linings, floor coverings, pool fires) but the predictive computational
    models can be applied to any geometry.
The proposed research program consists of two research streams: one related
to material flammability properties (for charring and non charring, composite, fire
retardant materials) and the other to fire dynamics (configuration, flow and
environment influence on heat fluxes, toxic gases, fire spread and fire growth To
investigate flammability a new universal flammability experimental apparatus,
developed in FireSERT from the JIF grant, is essential. The main characteristics
of this apparatus are: (a) the solid material is separated from the heaters by a
quartz tube so that the combustion products do not interact with the heaters to
alter their chemistry (b) the composition of the oxidizer supply stream can be
controlled by varying its oxygen concentration or composition and (c) the quartz
tube containing the sample is large enough so that burning is not affected by the
co-flowing oxidizer stream but it is controlled by buoyancy. This apparatus is a
significant improvement over existing similar apparatus, namely the cone
calorimeter and the Factory Mutual apparatus.
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


To implement this program, it was necessary to split it into two interrelated
proposals. One on ignition and pyrolysis (before ignition starts) and the current
one on pyrolysis (post ignition) and burning of the pyrolysing gases.
The separation of pyrolysis before and after ignition is dictated by the fact that
the radiation absorption properties of the surface and the environment near the
surface of the solid change after ignition occurs. For example after ignition, the
surface becomes opaque, regardless of its original properties. In addition, the
material pyrolyses in an essentially nitrogen environment since oxygen is
consumed away from the surface burning with the fuel as a diffusion flame..
The burning of the pyrolysis gases includes their flammability properties
determined by the chemistry of combustion (such as heat of combustion ,
gaseous products , soot) and the influence of the turbulent flow field and scale
on the growth and magnitude of fire and its thermal ( luminous radiation,
radiation blockage) and toxic impact.

Extensive laboratory and computational facilities, existing at The Institute of Fire
Safety Engineering and Technology, University of Ulster, will be used to conduct
the project. The Institute is a world-known comprehensive facility for Fire Safety
Engineering studies, and comprises inter-disciplinary research team. The project
has a great potential for further collaborative research, links with overseas
organisations and practical applications.



Title: Glazing in fires

Supervisor/Contact: M.A.Delichatsios, T.J. Shields

Other Details
Period: September 2008 - September 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: DEL/VCRS
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Breaking and fallout of glazing systems create openings in an enclosure that
affect the fire growth and the development of post flashover flames emerging
outside of the openings. The behaviour of glazing is the result of its thermally
induced stress response to the heat fluxes from the fire in an enclosure. Thermal
stresses will be present because the exposed area of the glass is at different
temperature from that part of the glass shielded by the frame. This work
addresses only single pane systems and one type of frame setting aside for
future investigation different types of (a) frames, (b) coatings (c) composite
layered and (d) double glazing systems.
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


Significant progress, on the one hand, has been made in our lab in calculating
the time of formation of the first crack induced by the heating history of a glass
pane responding to an imposed heat flux from the fire. Yet some issues in this
area need further work. Current models and interpretation of experimental results
for the prediction of the time of the first or subsequent cracks have neglected the
influences of (a) the aspect ratio and (b) the non-uniform heating of the glass
pane (for example when it extends from the lower cold later to the upper hot layer
in an enclosure fire). These parameters will be investigated analytically and
numerically. In addition, the theoretical results will be validated from experiments
by varying the aspect ratio of window panes exposed to the environment of fire
resistance furnaces, small and large, which generate uniform radiation heat
fluxes . The same experiments will be employed to validate models for the
heating of glass pane and explore methodologies to extract its thermal and
spectral properties.
On the other hand, little is known about glass fallout. Experiments in our
laboratory indicate that glass fallout occurs if isolated islands (isolas) bordered by
multiple cracks are formed on the glass pane. The formation of islands depends
on the location of the first and subsequent cracks. The formation of a new crack
is governed by the same analysis as the formation of a preceding crack because
stresses are relieved after a crack forms. However, even though its time of
formation could be adequately predicted, its point of initiation at the edges and its
direction cannot because of the high sensitivity of the latter phenomena on slight
irregularities of the edges and the glass pane itself. Therefore, the number of
cracks needed for fallout will vary and must be treated using regression analysis
based on a well-parameterized set of experiments for a range of heat fluxes,
window geometry and differential pressure.
In summary the following issues will be addressed and resolved in this work for
single glazing (1) the relation of stresses to the temperature field in the glass
pane including the shaded area and (2) the number of cracks needed for fallout.

Extensive laboratory and computational facilities, existing at The Institute of Fire
Safety Engineering and Technology, University of Ulster, will be used to conduct
the project. The Institute is a world-known comprehensive facility for Fire Safety
Engineering studies, and comprises inter-disciplinary research team. The project
has a great potential for further collaborative research, links with overseas
organisations and practical applications.
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


Title: Modelling of soot formation in laminar flames using global soot
formation model

Supervisor/Contact: Prof. M. Delichatsios, Prof. A. Nadjai

Other:Details
Period::September2008-September2011
Type:Postgraduate(PhD)
Status:Proposed
FundingBody:DEL/VCRS
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Soot formation is one of the central issues in behaviour of turbulent, radiation-
controlled fires. Complexity of chemical processes associated with soot formation
still hinders the progress in computational fire modelling. As a simplified way
around this problem, global soot formation model, which relates soot formation
mechanism of the fuel to the smoke point of the laminar flame, has been
proposed by Delichatsios.
As a first step for the model verification, prediction of laminar flames has to be
made, and predicted smoke points AND RADIATION are to be compared with
those available from LAMINAR BUOYANT JET EXPERIMENTS IN SOLID AND
GASEOUS FLAMES. The project will focus on Computational Fluid Dynamic
modelling of laminar flames, using the proposed soot formation model. Smoke
point flame heights and radiative losses from flames will be predicted and
compared with measurements. The study will provide essential verification OF A
SIMPLIFIED for future application of soot formation model for turbulent
combustion OF SOLIDS IN FIRES..

Extensive laboratory and computational facilities, existing at The Institute of Fire
Safety Engineering and Technology, University of Ulster, will be used to conduct
the project. The Institute is a world-known comprehensive facility for Fire Safety
Engineering studies, and comprises inter-disciplinary research team. The project
has a great potential for further collaborative research, links with overseas
organisations and practical applications.




Title: Fire Risk Simulation and Assessment
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment



Supervisor/Contact: M.A.Delichatsios, T.J. Shields

Other Details
Period: September 2008 - September 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: DEL/VCRS
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
Traditional specification-based approach for fire safety design does not allow
identification of interactions of fire engineered systems and has lacked flexibility
in finding alternative solutions. These problems have been partially addressed in
current developments using fire engineering to provide a performance-based
approach.
A state-of-the-art performance-based fire safety assessment approach was
developed by M.K. Mathews, D.M. Karydas and M.A. Delichatsios (1997) (
Reference Fifth International Symposium on Fire Safety Science ,Ed. Y . hasemi
p.595-606. this approach, quantified risk is considered as the performance
parameter of safety. All accident scenarios that are generated from the events
and interaction are analyzed using an event tree method. The events correspond
to success and failure of all engineered systems, e.g. the fire prevention and
protection systems of the facility, the ventilation and smoke management and the
response of the local fire department. The use of event tree provides the
possibility of finding alternative solutions satisfying both requirements of fire
system risk and cost. However, the event tree method is not able to represent
the dynamic of escalating events in the real-world.
The performance-based fire safety assessment approach can be realized using a
multi-agent-system. The characteristics of multi-agent systems make them
appropriate for this application.
The focuses of the study will be a comprehensive model of fire risk simulation
and assessment using a multi-agent system for its implementation. The
comprehensive model will be developed based on deterministic and probabilistic
sub-models. Deterministic models will be used to predict fire growth and smoke
transport while probabilistic models will be used to determine the occurrence of
events and scenarios. Each scenario from possible fires and events will be
analyzed and the associated risks will be estimated. Fire growth and spread will
be illustrated via a dynamic graphic display. Designs of fire-engineered systems
with the low risk are then identified and provided to the fire engineers.
Multi-agent systems represent a new technology in the development of complex
software systems. They have been widely applied in various domains. A multi-
agent system is composed of multiple interacting agents. Each individual agent
can represent actions, plans etc while all agents work together towards a
common aim. Multi-agent systems are suited to applications that have multiple
problem solutions, e.g. application in multi-disciplinary design where multiple
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


models of design can be integrated in an environment. In this project, we develop
a multi-agent approach for fire risk simulation and assessment since it has
following advantages:
     Fire engineered systems, fire models, scenario analysis models, etc can
       be represented as individual agents. These agents are capable of flexibly
       response to an environment and interacting with each other without direct
       intervention of humans.
     Flexible actions of agents enable various events of fire engineered
       systems to be combined in an environment. This provides flexibility in
       finding alternative solutions that meet requirements.
     Each agent can be as simple or sophisticated as the system demands.
       Each agent can be developed to reflect state of the art modeling capability
       in its own field and updated as improved models become available.
     Multi-agent systems integrate all engineered systems, fire models, etc. in
       one environment. This enables total fire system risks to be simulated and
       evaluated.
     Current fire engineering approaches are crude, particularly when
       evaluating probabilistic occurrences and the interactions of multiple fire
       safety systems. Multi-agent systems allow maximum advantage to be
       taken of probabilistic behaviour and interactions, thus producing cost-
       effective designs.

Extensive laboratory and computational facilities, existing at The Institute of Fire
Safety Engineering and Technology, University of Ulster, will be used to conduct
the project. The Institute is a world-known comprehensive facility for Fire Safety
Engineering studies, and comprises inter-disciplinary research team. The project
has a great potential for further collaborative research, links with overseas
organisations and practical applications.



TURBULENT MODELLING OF SOOT AND RADIATION IN FIRES

Supervisors: M.A.Delichatsios and A. Nadjai

Other Details
Period: September 2008 - September 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: DEL/VCRS
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
       The aim of the project is to provide validation and credibility in specific
sub-models used in current sophisticated computer codes for predicting fire
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


growth in buildings or in free fire plumes in open pool fires. The objectives of this
research proposal are:
 Develop an apparatus and a methodology to obtain state relationships and
   soot formation global kinetics properties from solids by using laminar smoke-
   point height measurements

   Compare various k-e-g turbulence models regarding their ability to simulate
    buoyant flow , and recommend one based on ability to predict both mean and
    fluctuating components in simple turbulent buoyant flows. Both free plumes
    and wall-bounded upward and horizontal flows will be considered, without
    combustion. Accurate modelling of the fluctuations is a prerequisite for
    proceeding to turbulent combustion because a laminar flamelet model will be
    employed.

   The selected sub-model(s) will be inserted in an existing large CFD code
    (FLUENT, SOFIE, CFX, or PHOENICS) that uses RANS (Reynolds Averaged
    Navier Stokes) and k-e-g turbulence modelling and also includes gaseous
    and soot radiation modelling. Validation will be pursued using existing data for
    turbulent non-premixed combusting flows generated by gaseous burners
    wherein chemistry is known. Global soot formation kinetic models will be used
    and the objective will be to determine whether Kolmogorov or large scale
    times control soot formation. Kinetics will be considered only for soot,
    whereas the rest of chemical species will be modelled using flamelet
    approximation with state relationships representing the chemistry. This
    flamelet approach is appropriate because straining rates are low in fires.

   We plan also to use a combination of k-e-g and LES (Large Eddy Simulation
    such as the Fire Dynamic Simulator developed by NIST) turbulence modelling
    in a fashion proposed by Speziale .

Extensive laboratory and computational facilities, existing at The Institute of Fire
Safety Engineering and Technology, University of Ulster, will be used to conduct
the project. The Institute is a world-known comprehensive facility for Fire Safety
Engineering studies, and comprises inter-disciplinary research team. The project
has a great potential for further collaborative research, links with overseas
organisations and practical applications.
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


SMOKE SUPPRESSION IN MATERIAL PYROLYSIS AND FIRES

Supervisor/Contact: Michael A. Delichatsios and A. Nadgai

Other Details
Period: September 2008 - September 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: DEL/VCRS
Campus: Jordanstown

Brief Description
This proposal will consider the mechanism and modelling of smoke suppression
in polymers containing conventional (micron sized) and nano-scale hydrated
fillers in combination with phosphate fire retardant additives. Although the most
common causes of death in fires are smoke related, this aspect is often
overlooked in polymer fire retardant studies. Fire retardant fillers, in particular
magnesium and aluminium hydroxides, are known to be effective smoke
suppressants and are used commercially for this purpose, however studies in
this area are very limited and a full understanding of their behaviour has not been
realised. Furthermore, use of fire retardant fillers with particle dimensions in the
nano-scale, shows significant promise as a means of greatly enhancing their
efficiency, but this concept requires further development. Phosphate fire
retardants are highly effective and well established, yet generate increased
smoke during combustion. In order to minimise this drawback the proposal has
the following objectives:

   1. To identify the mechanisms of soot and smoke formation in fire retardant
      polymers using phosphates as the fire retardant agent in isolation, and in
      combination, with hydrated smoke suppressing filler variants.
   2. To develop a methodology to achieve part 1 using a) intrinsic properties
      measured in TGA/FTIR/DSC/MS and b) the fire behaviour in the cone and
      SBI experiments.
   3. To develop fire retardant formulations with optimum performance based
      on combinations of phosphate compounds and hydrated smoke
      suppressing filler variants.

Smoke will be formed before ignition starts due to incomplete combustion and
after ignition starts due to both incomplete combustion and insufficient oxidation
of the soot particles formed inside the flames.

We can separate the polymers in oxygen containing and hydrocarbon polymers
and similarly phosphates as having oxygen or not.

The mechanisms of fire suppression can be either in the solid phase (char
enhancing) or in the gaseous phase (suppression of the reactions with oxygen).
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


The second mechanism will contribute to more smoke than the first. The second
mechanism is not really reducing fire hazards for really large scale fires.

Both the composition of the char and the composition of the pyrolysing gases will
be thoroughly analysed. The oxidation of the char will be also investigated in the
TGA.

The proposed strategy is to increase the propensity of phosphate compounds to
form char and stay in the solid phase by using synergistic compounds such as
metal oxides and salts.



Smart Fire Detection: Smart Fire Detection with ?Electronic Nose?

Supervisor/Contact: Professor VB Novozhilov, Professor James McLaughlin,
Dr. Paul Joseph

Other Details
Period: August 2007 - August 2010
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: UU

Brief Description
Smart Fire Detection with “Electronic Nose”:
Fire detection is a problem of primary importance for Fire Safety Engineering.
Successful (or unsuccessful) detection may be a matter of life or death for people
subjected to the risk of fire. Despite long track of research and technology
advancements, the problem has not been satisfactory resolved. Most common
and widely used smoke and heat sensors suffer from several problems, such as
possible failures and delays in detection, and false alarms. Apart from that, it is
not possible to determine type of burning material or fire location automatically.
In short, with existing technology fire usually cannot be detected until it grows to
a dangerous stage. Ideally, fire needs to be detected at smouldering stage,
before onset of flaming combustion. In such a situation, chances of fire
suppression and humans escape are highest.
The current research programme is aimed at developing an “Electronic Nose”,
based on atmospheric plasma/ optical emission spectroscopic technique, which
has a great potential in detection of fire at very early stage. This relies on the fact
that the odour of smouldering material can be detected long before fire plume
and thermal field, typical for fire, are formed. Another great advantage is that by
capturing the spectrogram of burning material, it is possible to tell exactly which
material is burning, and thus establish location of the fire. In addition, it is
planned to model the detection process by means of Computational Fluid
Dynamics (CFD). The model will predict the distribution of combustion gases in a
                  PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


compartment as a function of time. This will greatly assist in understanding of the
detection process and establishment of necessary sensitivity requirements for
the detector. It will also help to determine the most favourite locations of
detectors in compartments of various configurations.




Safety of Biofuels as Alternative Energy Sources

Supervisor / Contact: Professor V. Novozhilov and Dr. P. Joseph

Other Details
Period: April 2008 - April 2011
Type: Postgraduate (PhD)
Status: Proposed
Funding Body: DEL/VCRS

Brief Description
Use of biofules as alternatives sources of energy has been widely accepted as
one of major strategies to meet challenges of exhausting hydrocarbons supply,
high oil prices and climate changes.

United Kingdom (along with the European Union) is committed to increasing use
of biofuels, with the proposed targets of 5 % share in total fuel consumption by
2010, and 20 % of total energy supply by 2020 on the table.

New types of fuels present, however, new risks to the society. Storage,
distribution and use of such alternative fuels have to be managed using practises
that are inherently safe. As opposed to traditional fuels, there is a lack of
knowledge pertaining to risks resulting from biofules and their behaviour in
different environments.

Biofuels are broadly defined as renewable, organism-derived organic resource
(excluding fossil resources) generated from plant and/or animal matter. The risks
resulting from storage/use of biomass fuels are versatile. For example, serious
accidents involving Refuse Derived Fuels (RDF, e.g. made from domestic raw
garbage) self-ignition occurred at an energy plant in Japan in 2003. Such
incidents clearly demonstrate that without good knowledge of thermal
characteristics of new materials and in the absence of reliable predictive tools,
their behaviour cannot be well understood, and safe practices of their utilisation
established.

The program consists of the two parts.
                   PhD Studentship Topics – Built Environment


The first part will involve evaluation of thermophysical properties of the materials
using TG-DTA apparatus available at FireSERT (School of the Built
Environment). These preliminary studies must be enhanced by the use of highly
sensitive calorimeters, such as C80 and TAM-3. None of such accurate and
expensive equipment is available in the UK/Europe. We have, however, strong
and long-lasting collaboration with the National Research Institute of Fire and
Disaster (NRIFD) in Japan, who run a strong biofuel safety research program
and recently acquired C80/TAM-3 equipment. This cutting-edge equipment will
be used to extract key thermophysical/kinetic parameters.

The second part of this preliminary study will be development of the
mathematical model that predicts autoignition of RDF. Mathematical model will
feature ability to predict self-ignition of RDF using methodology of Thermal
Explosion Theory. The thermal explosion theoretical model will be later extended
to full CFD modelling of RDF ignition. The most important problem, along with
self-ignition prediction, is to prevent thermal run-away. The only reasonable
solution to this problem is to arrange highly efficient cooling of the samples. To
achieve this, an entirely novel approach will be taken to design heat dissipation
pathways from RDF sample. This design will be based on optimisation of heat
dissipation rate involving Constructal Theory (A. Bejan).

				
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