University 'Goes To Blazes' In Design Test

Construction professionals from across the world will watch how steel beams used in modern office buildings react in a burning inferno, in the first fire test of its kind, staged by the University of Ulster this week.

Experts from the Institute of Fire Safety Engineering Research Technology (FireSERT) have organised the experiment in a special compartment at a fire glass manufacturer near Castledawson, Co Derry on Saturday.

FireSERT's Professor Ali Nadjai said: "This is the first realistic fire test to be carried out on cellular steel beams anywhere in the world."

The test is part of an ongoing €1.6 million project supported by the European Research Fund for Coal and Steel.
News Image
"The growing popularity of the use of cellular steel beams in composite floors comes at the same time as an increasing attention to the fire safety engineering design," said Professor Nadjai.

"Their design regarding fire protection remains very primitive and this is due to the lack of general research in this area. These beams have been tested before in furnaces but never in a real life situation where there are windows and other factors that can affect a fire."

He continued: "We have secured them in a large 15m x 9m compartment, which is very similar to part of an office building, so that we can gauge accurately what would happen in a real fire.

"The aim of this test is to find the best fire protection for cellular beams. Findings from this experiment could help develop uniform European design rules for protected and unprotected beams when subjected to fire."

Around 150 delegates are expected to attend the live test on Saturday and a two-day conference at the University's Jordanstown campus.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

16 March 2020
Plea For Calm This St Patrick's Day
Students are being urged to cancel any planned gatherings this St Patrick's Day in a bid to prevent further spread of the Covid-19 virus. Those with prearranged plans in the Holylands area of south Belfast are advised to rethink their celebrations in light of the pandemic.
17 July 2001
THE Northern Ireland Fire Service is to receive the first ever award given by the province's devolved assembly. An illuminated scroll is to be presented to Chief Fire Officer John McClelland on Tuesday, by assembly speaker Lord Alderdice in tribute to the sacrifice made by fire fighters over the years.
03 February 2012
Cross Border Co-Operation On Child Protection Launched
A new joint protocol aimed at protecting vulnerable children on both sides of the border has been formally launched today.
17 September 2014
Community Fire Station Opens In Omagh
Public Safety Minister Edwin Poots has opened a new £4.4m Community Fire Station in Omagh, County Tyrone. The new Community Fire Station & District Headquarters on the Killybrack Road includes onsite facilities for firefighter training and transport and engineering workshops.
02 April 2012
NI's Chief Fire Officer Announces His Retirement
The Chief Fire Officer for Northern Ireland, Peter Craig, has announced that he is to retire after over 35 years of distinguished Service. Peter Craig is one of the longest serving officers in Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service and was appointed as Chief Fire Officer in February 2011, having been the acting Chief from July 2010.