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News in 2020


Fire group organise a Christmas & New Year gift exchange activity

Dec 2020

Fire group organises a gift exchange activitiy for the Christmas and New Year. Each of us buys one gift, and we did a lucky draw to see who gets which gift. It's a lot of fun!


Shaorun receives the SFPE student research grant

Dec 2020

Shaorun Lin has received the student research grant from SFPE Educational & Scientific Foundation for his research project entitled “Megafire Mitigation: A Novel Methodology to Fight the Smouldering Wildfires”. The aim of this study is to advance and enrich the wildfire-fighting strategy for suppressing smouldering underground wildfires. An award of USD 5,000 will be provided to complete this research.


Two new postdoc fellows will join in fire lab

Dec 2020

Dr Han Yuan received his PhD (2020) from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London, where he computationally studied the self-heating ignition and smouldering combustion of carbon-rich porous media. 

Dr Zhirong Liang received his PhD in the speciality of Power Machinery and Engineering at Beihang University, during which his research mainly focused on analyzing the black carbon and organic carbon emissions originated from aircraft engine combustor and internal combustion engines.

Big Experimental Database and Artificial Intelligence in Tunnel Fire Research

Dec 2020

Tunnel fire is one of the most severe global fire hazards and causes a significant amount of economic losses and casualties every year. In light of the recent advances in big data and AI, this research established a database that contains existing experimental data of tunnel fire and applied machine learning to predict the critical ventilation velocity of a tunnel fire based on this database as a demonstration. This work is led by Xiaoning Zhang and Dr Xiqiang Wu, and has been published in Tunnelling & Underground Space Technology.


New Dynamic Pressure Equipment Installed at PolyU fire lab

Dec 2020

Collaborated with Nanjing Tech University and Institute of Industry Technology, Guangzhou & Chinese Academy of Sciences, two dynamic pressure chambers were developed to implement scientific experiments on the combustion of different fuels. By integrating with multiple gas conditioning technologies, the state-of-the-art equipment can accurately simulate different combustion environments, which will advance the understanding of combustion characteristics under special environments.


Best Combustion Science Video Award & Best Poster Award

Nov 2020

A popular science video made by Caiyi, Yanhui and Xinyan received the Best Video Award from the China National Symposium on Combustion. This video, with the name ‘Storm Surge of Acoustic Wave’, exhibits using of acoustic waves as a flame shield. This is the 3rd time we win this award.

Supan and Xinyan also won the best poster award from the symposium. This is the 2nd time we win this award.


Dr Xiqiang Wu and Shaorun attended the SiF 2020

Nov 2020

Dr Xiqiang Wu presented his paper on bonding of grouted eccentric strands in duct at elevated temperature, and Shaorun shared his research on the near-limit flame behaviour and extinction limit of timber materials.


Fire Group attended the 12th Annual Symposium of HKIE Fire Division

Nov 2020

Fire Group attended the 12th Annual Symposium of HKIE Fire Division. The theme of the Symposium is "Practising Fire Safety for Cavern and Underground Development". The aim of our attendance is to study the knowledge and experience of recently completed projects locally and in overseas, including possible new uses and smart smoke detection equipment.


Extinction of flaming firebrand at wildland-urban interface by acoustic wave.

Nov 2020

When fire occurs in the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI), the high-density firebrand shower (burning bark and twigs) is usually dangerous and hard to control. This paper identifies the acoustic wave as an effective extinguisher with the ability to suppress the flaming firebrand shower on a large scale. This work is led by Dr. Caiyi Xiong and has been published in Fire Technology.

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Xinyan leads the Facade Fire Special Issue of Fire Technology

Sep 2020

Dr. Xinyan Huang is invited to serve as a guest editor for a special issue about “Facade Flammability and Fire Engineering” in Fire Technology. With a focus on the researches related to experiments, numerical models, designings, technologies, and regulations, this issue aims to improve the fire safety of facades in existing or planned tall buildings. Now we call for papers


Caiyi acquired a grant from the the National Natural Science Foundation of China

Sep 2020

Dr. Caiyi Xiong has acquired a grant of RMB240K from the Young Scientists Fund of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) 2020 for his research project titled "Study on the Acoustically Driven Response and Extinction of Buoyant Diffusion Flame". This project aims to reveal the underlying mechanism that governs the coupling effect of sound, flame, and fuel on the extinction process, so to further promote the sound-based fire extinguishing technology for a higher fire safety level.


Xiqiang has been promoted to Research Assistant Professor

Aug 2020

Dr. Xiqiang Wu has been promoted to Research Assistant Professor with effect from August 2020. He obtained his PhD degree from The University of Hong Kong in 2019. His research interests include fire behaviour modelling, structural response analysis and the application of artificial intelligence in these fields. Currently, he is working on the theme-based fund of SureFire project, mainly focusing on the detection of fire scenarios and forecasting of critical fire events in large infrastructures leveraging deep learning methods.


The burning polyethylene droplets in microgravity

Sep 2020

The conventional liquid-fuel droplet combustion in microgravity has been well discussed but not for the thermoplastic droplet. In the drop tower experiment, we successfully captured the burning PE droplet appearing as the comet flame and spherical flame in microgravity. This project cooperated with Chinese Academy of Sciences. This paper has been published on Combustion and Flame.


Quenching of smoldering: Effect of wall cooling on extinction

Sep 2020

The quenching distance (or thickness/diameter) is a critical length, below which flame can no longer propagate through. This work led by Shaorun and published in Proceedings of the Combustion Institute, explores whether the classical concept of flame quenching and quenching diameter can be extended to smoldering. 

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Several new members join in Fire Lab

Sep 2020

Mr. Zilong Wang, Miss. Yuying Chen, and Mr. Tianhang Zhang join our group as the PhD students.

Mr. Xiaoning Zhang and Mr. Haoran Fan join our group as the research assistants.

Miss. Peng Cheng is the new master student in our group.

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Fire Group visited the Fire and Ambulance Services Academy (FASA)

May 2020

The fire group visited the Fire and Ambulance Services Academy (FASA) which is a firefighter training institute owned and operated by the Hong Kong Fire Services Department. The aim of this activity also includes data curation and analysis from their demonstration experiment on compartment fire, paving way for future collaboration.

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Can we predict the self-ignition of Li-ion batteries in transport?

May 2020

Large Li-ion battery piles are prone to self-heating ignition, which has become an obstacle for its future development and application. Generally, the self-heating ignition possibility of conventional fuels increases with the piled size, such as coal piles, silos, and dust layers. This research applied the classical hot plate test on the pouch Li-ion battery pile. This paper is led by Yanhui Liu in collaboration with Imperial College and has been published in Fire Safety Journal.


Can rain suppress smoldering peat fire?

May 2020

Smoldering wildfire in peatlands is the most persistent fire on Earth and contributes significantly to global carbon emissions and regional haze events. People try everything to stop this fire disaster, but sometimes forget the help of nature (i.e., the rain). This work investigates the underlying mechanism of rain in suppressing the smoldering peat fire. This teamwork, led by Shaorun (PhD student), Yang (MEng student) and Daniel (BEng student) is published in Science of the Total Environment.

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Can Li-ion batteries get ignited

like falling Dominoes?

May 2020

Modern energy storage systems use a lot of Li-ion batteries. The high risk of battery fire has become a barrier to electric vehicles, as reviewed by our recent paper. The worst safety nightmare is that a burning battery cell ignites all other cells like a Domino cascade. In this research, we explore such a risk of battery fire chain process, as well as the critical conditions. Together with researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), published in Fire Technology.


New Technology to Extinguish the Dripping Flame by Acoustic Wave

May 2020

The dripping of molten polymer with flame is of high fire risk but these fast-falling flames cannot be suppressed by conventional fire extinguishers. This fact inspires this work to use acoustic waves to establish a flame shield. This research led by Dr Caiyi Xiong helps mitigate the fire hazard of dripping and is published in Fire Safety Journal.

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New Research Reveals the Fire Risk and Dynamics of Rice

May 2020

You have cooked the rice but may not have burnt the rice. Our research demonstrates the fascinating flaming and smoldering behaviors of rice and explores the fire risk during the rice drying process. This collaborative research with the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) is published in Fire Safety Journal.

 A new theory proposed for dripping ignition of thin fuel

April 2020

The burning of thermoplastic material often accompanies with the dripping phenomenon, like in the facade and cable fires. These small droplets are capable to ignite other fuels and start a new fire. This work provides important data to quantify the fire hazard of dripping and explores the ignition mechanism in the dripping fire. This research is led by Peiyi (Sally) Sun and has been published in Fire Safety Journal.


 A New Light on the Mystery of

Underground Fire

May 2020

The longest-lasting fire on Earth is an underground coal fire (the Burning Mountain) in New South Wales, Australia that has burned for more than 6,000 years and remains a modern mystery. Such a fire is so strong because the air supply was enhanced by the chimney effect, as revealed by the collaboration between PolyU, Nanjing Tech Univ. and German Aerospace Center. This work shed new light on this mystery and published in Process Safety & Environmental Protection.

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Artificial Intelligence application in tunnel fire safety engineering

April 2020

Fire detection is of great importance in guiding fire rescue and fighting operations. We proposed a framework to accurately identify the location and size of fire and ventilation conditions in tunnel leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) and numerical simulations. This is the first paper of SureFire smart-firefighting project. This work is led by Dr Xiqiang Wu and published in Fire Technology.  


What will happen if a cotton bale catch a smoldering fire?

March 2020

Cotton is the most widely used natural textile fiber for human beings, and its fire safety during transportation, storage, and Manufacturing is of great significance. Together with researchers from the State Key Lab of Fire Science, we discovered two different smoldering fire spread models on the cotton bale. This work is published in Fire Technology, and Shaorun Lin made a major contribution in the data analysis.


Two papers are accepted by the 38th International Combustion Symposium

Mar 2020

The paper led by Shaorun quantifies the quenching distance of smoldering for the first time and proposed the new theory for smoldering extinction. The paper led by Dr Supan Wang modeling the complex deformation processes of wood particles. 

Both papers are their first combustion symposium paper, and they will present in Adelaide, Australia next year.

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Peiyi publishes her first review paper on battery fires in electric vehicles

Jan 2020

Over the last decade, the electric vehicle (EV) has significantly changed the car industry globally, driven by the fast development of Li-ion battery technology. However, the fire risk and hazard associated with this type of high-energy battery has become a major safety concern for EVs. This invited review focuses on the latest fire-safety issues of EVs related to thermal runaway and fire in Li-ion batteries. This paper is published in Fire Technology.

Four papers are accepted by 13th IAFSS Symposium in Waterloo, Canada

Jan 2020

Three papers are accepted by the 13th IAFSS Symposium which wll be held in Waterloo, Canada. Xinyan's paper is an invited review on Near-Limit Opposed Fire Spread for his Proulx Early Career Award. Caiyi's paper focuses on the extinguishing the dripping flame by acoustic waves. Yanhui's paper discusses the self-ignition propensity of Li-ion battery pile on a hot plate.


All these papers will be published in Fire Safety Journal, the official journal of the International Association of Fire Safety Science (IAFSS).


SFPE Hong Kong Student Chapter

Jan 2020

We are happy to announce the establishment of the SFPE HK student chapter. This is also the first SFPE student chapter in China. 

New members are welcome to join the community by contacting Shaorun Lin and Peiyi (Sally) Sun


First group hiking in 2020

Jan 2020

The fire group organizes this year's first hiking in Lantau Mountain. It is the second-highest peak in Hong Kong and the highest point on Lantau Island, with a height of 934 metres (3,064 ft) above sea level. It is famous for the sunrise scenery viewed from the summit.

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