Performance-based fire engineering

Our group works on performance-based fire engineering (PBFE) approaches that has gained attention in recent years, and let structural engineers develop design solutions for buildings that are safer, more efficient and cost effective, or applicable to more complex architectural configurations. The design of fire protection in the PBFE is based on calculating the structure’s performance under realistic fire scenarios.

Probabilistic approaches in structural fire engineering

Our research has developed probabilistic material models for steel and concrete structures at elevated temperatures, and we have been studying the influence of model choice on structural failure assessment of steel and concrete structures exposed to fire.

We also work towards quantifying and harmonizing safety of structures designed for fire.

Tunnels and fire

Our goal is  to increase safety and minimize economic losses in the transportation networks by enhancing resilience of existing and new tunnels subject to fire events. This is achieved by developing a better understanding of the effects of a fire on tunnel structure integrity, and establishing a scenario-based risk assessment methodology to quantify fire damage to tunnel lining considering soil-liner interaction.

Structural fire testing

We are working on introducing active boundary conditions during experimental testing of structural elements at elevated temperatures to improve the current element-based testing technique by facilitating cost-effective experiments that would incorporate system-level response (hybrid testing in fire engineering). As part of an experimental fire testing program at UB, we will use a furnace with a loading frame for testing of structural elements at high temperatures at the Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory (SEESL).

Fire experiments of tunnel slabs

Our group is working on solutions to enhance the resilience of tunnels subject to fire events. We have conducted furnace tests of loaded and restrained reinforced concrete slabs at the Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory (SEESL) to study their performance under a railway tunnel fire scenario.

Fire following earthquake

We have been working on a loss estimation and decision making tool for managing fire following earthquake (FFE) at the community level. We have developed a framework to integrate performance of water and power networks, buildings and bridges in the transportation network to identify vulnerable parts of a community to post-earthquake fires.

We have also an on-going research to derive fragility functions for non-structural components, such as building glazing systems. Glazing damage after an earthquake affects building functionality, generates debris and could hamper emergency responses, and changes dynamics of fire spread inside a building in case of FFE.

Wildfires in wildland urban interfaces (WUI)

Our research group studies wildfires in the WUI communities to develop actionable information on how the hazard directly impacts these communities. We collect and analyze data, establish models to understand  interaction of building layout and construction (i.e., human systems), and environmental parameters (i.e., natural systems such as weather and vegetation), and change the risk of a community being substantially affected by a wildfire.

University at Buffalo

State University of New York

© 2019 created for Negar Elhami Khorasani