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Funded PhD Opportunity

Structures Fire Behaviour and Protections Fire Performance

Subject: Architecture, Built Environment and Planning


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

*8- Tunnels and transportation vehicles fire impact 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

Essential criteria

  • Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC)
  • Clearly defined research proposal detailing background, research questions, aims and methodology


    Vice Chancellors Research Scholarships (VCRS)

    The scholarships will cover tuition fees and a maintenance award of £14,777 per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). Applications are invited from UK, European Union and overseas students.


    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £ 14,777 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fees component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided).  For Non EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK.

Other information

The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Key dates

Submission deadline
Monday 18 February 2019

Interview Date
13 March to 21 March 2019


Jordanstown campus

Jordanstown campus
The largest of Ulster's campuses

Contact supervisor

Professor Ali Nadjai

Other supervisors


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