Summary

The principal thrust is the experimental evaluation of the structural behaviour in fire of a variety of materials and structural assemblies. The focus is on the principal building materials i.e. steel, concrete, brickwork, timber, Fiber Reinforced Plastic “FRP”, flooring systems, Facades Glazing panel systems and compartmentation. The second thrust is the study of the correlation between thermo-structural response and the quantification of thermal onslaught and transmission, seeking definitions of fire severity on structures. Fire testing studies examined furnace severity on both the large scale and indicative furnaces at FireSERT, complying with European Standards, enable direct correlation to end user needs.

In examining the behaviour of structural assemblies in fire, the principal objective of FireSERT’s research is to use experimental parametric studies to provide comprehensive scale model test data. This informs design guidance within a limit state philosophy (parametric experimental data linked to computer simulations forming the basis of statistical and sensitivity analyses). For cost effective research FireSERT also have a number of small purpose designed furnaces for this research work.

The Structural Fire Engineering Current Principal Research Programmes Focus On:

*1-Behaviour of Glazing Façade Panel System in Tall Buildings

*2-Experimental and Numerical study on Fire Performance Steel Joints

*3-Experimental and Analysis of spread/travelling interacting steel structures.

*4-Fire resistance of Ultra high strength concrete columns, beams and slabs

*5-Fire interaction with sprinkler/water mist system in commercial stores

*6-Fire behaviour of composite flooring/offshore platform systems and protections

*7-Earthquake and fire in buildings

FireSERT has state of the art research facilities which are virtually unique within a university setting. These include a 600m2 burn hall which houses a range of calorimeters including a ten-megawatt facility for full-scale research. Large-scale combination wall and floor furnaces together with intermediate/small scale furnaces facilitate experimental research and product development. Equipment to be used in this project is listed as: crane, data logging systems, thermocouples, LVDTS, large furnace, load cells, hydraulic loading equipment, dynamic loading equipment. Concrete lab including using concrete mixers, vibrating table, curing tanks.

FireSERT has collaborated with a number of national and international organisations and is currently involved in deferent projects linked with European, industrial and building control partners in the sustainability and resilient buildings.  FireSERT's unique data was used by British Steel to press the UK case regarding the plate thermometer in European harmonisation debates. FireSERT possess the only heat flux-time curves for the Cardington LBTF full scale compartment fire tests and the NFSC2 compartment tests and recently conducted large scale fire compartment for long cellular beams with a recent development of new Eurocode.

The PhD Researcher will have opportunities to meet with experts in the research area and also to collaborate with other leading groups in the School Built Environment.


Essential criteria

  • To hold, or expect to achieve by 15 August, an Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC) in a related or cognate field.
  • Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain
  • Sound understanding of subject area as evidenced by a comprehensive research proposal

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • A comprehensive and articulate personal statement

Funding

    The University offers the following awards to support PhD study and applications are invited from UK, EU and overseas for the following levels of support:

    Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)

    Full award (full-time PhD fees + DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £15,000 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Vice-Chancellor’s Research Bursary (VCRB)

    Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £7,500 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fees Bursary (VCRFB)

    Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Department for the Economy (DFE)

    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £15,285 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fee’s component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided). For Non-EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK. This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Due consideration should be given to financing your studies; for further information on cost of living etc. please refer to: www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/fees-and-funding/financing-your-studies


Other information


The Doctoral College at Ulster University