Xinyan Visit Inner Mongolia Boreal Forest
Xinyan visited the boreal forest in the Inner Mongolia region and visited the site of underground smouldering wildfire happened this summer. The field trip was organized by the Inner Mongolia Agricultural University and supported local forest department. Duff and peat samples were collected and analysed for the preparation of future field experiments.
Three Members Passed PhD Thesis Defense
Yuying Chen's research focused on smouldering fuel processing, emission flammability, and carbon footprint. Zilong Wang made significant contributions to intelligent fire identification and quantification using computer vision. Tianhang Zhang developed a smart firefighting framework driven by artificial intelligence, enabling building fire forecasts.
Use of Vortex Ring to Blowoff the Flame
The blow-off is one of typical flame extinction mechanism, and such a principle has been widely used in firefighting. This work explores extinguishing different diffusion flames by an air vortex ring. We found the required power of vortex ring for blow-off is two to three orders of magnitude smaller than the flame power. This study, led by Dr Caiyi Xiong, contributes significantly to the comprehension of the fundamental extinguishment mechanisms orchestrated by vortex rings and future applications.
Fire Detection Analysis for Complex Floorplans
Fire response time is essential to the life safety protection from fires. Our new paper proposes a generative neural network (GAN) model to achieve real-time analysis of fire detection time for any given building floorplan and detector distribution. The result shows that the model can predict ceiling temperature, velocity and soot density fields with an accuracy of 88% in a second and detection time with 95% accuracy. This work is led by Yanfu Zeng and now published in Journal of Building Engineering.
Wang Meng won the PolyU Image Award
PolyU recently held the Pixels of PolyU Photo Competition, aimed at fostering creativity within the PolyU community, specifically in the areas of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics). With an overwhelming response, the competition received over 250 captivating photo submissions. We are thrilled to announce that Wang Meng, a dedicated member of the Fire Lab and a Ph.D. student, emerged as the winner of the "Science" theme award, earning a well-deserved prize of HKD1,000. Congratulations to Wang Meng for this remarkable achievement! Your talent and artistic portrayal of science have truly impressed the judging panel.
Innovative Immersion Cooling for Battery
This study proposes a static flow-based immersion cooling method for Li-ion battery thermal management. It demonstrates superior cooling capabilities compared to conventional air cooling, with temperature limits below 40 °C and a temperature gradient within 3 °C at 3C discharge. Numerical modeling shows that immersion cooling has a 50% higher cooling rate than forced air cooling. The effects of ambient temperature and liquid volume are investigated, and different cooling regions are defined. This new paper in J. Energy Storage led by Yanhui Liu provides valuable insights into battery thermal management.
Highlight in PolyU Junior Researcher Programme
Students from West Island Secondary School, guided by Xinyan, Meng and Wilson, have developed a game-changing smart firefighting robot. Combining artificial intelligence and robotics, the autonomous robot swiftly detects and extinguishes fire sources, ensuring the safety of frontline firefighters. This project has ignited a passion for scientific research among the participants, influencing their future study choices. With its potential to revolutionize firefighting operations, this innovative creation promises a safer and more efficient future in emergency response.This project was selected out from in total of 50+ projects for media interview.
Welcome New Members
Three new members will join the PolyU Fire Safety Lab in the coming semester.
Weikang Xie received his master’s from the China University of Petroleum. He will be a PhD student at PolyU.
Yuxin Zhou received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Nanjing Tech University in 2020 and 2023. She will be a PhD student at PolyU.
Xinghao Chen received her bachelor’s Degree from Nankai University in 2023. She will be a research assistant at PolyU.
Welcome to our research group! Wishing our new members a successful and fulfilling journey ahead!
Bring Smoldering and CO into Fire Safety Design
The release of carbon monoxide (CO) from smouldering fires can result in significant injuries and fatalities. We examine the transport and hazards associated with CO emissions from smouldering fires for the building performance-based design practice. The smouldering fire is not able to form a two-zone model (smoke zone and non-smoke zone) due to low burning temperature, and it tends to fill the entire compartment with CO. This paper, led by Wilson Cheung and published in Fire Safety Journal, provides valuable contributions to rough engineering analysis focused on predicting CO emissions from smouldering fires.
Innovative AI Tool for Biomass Thermal Analysis
Biomass is a vital alternative clean and renewable energy resource. Understanding the thermal stability of biomass is crucial for the efficient and safe utilization of bioenergy. Our latest work reviews the literature data on thermal-oxidative decomposition for common biomass types and develops an ANN model for the prediction of TGA data by inputting the elemental/proximate analysis of biomass. This work, led by Dr Yuying Chen and Dr Zilong Wang, is published in Cleaner Materials.
Welcome Visiting Professor Menglong Hao
Prof. Menglong Hao visits the PolyU fire research group from September 2023, funded by Kwang-Hua Education Foundation. Prof. Hao received his PhD degree from Purdue University in 2016 and now is a full professor at Southeast University, China. His research interests include innovative designs, advanced manufacturing techniques, and numerical simulations, primarily focusing on developing thermal management equipment for applications in aerospace, electronics, energy, and various other fields. His key research findings have been published in Science and Nature Energy. Big Welcome!
New MTR Fund for Smart Fire Evacuation
Xinyan was awarded the MTR research fund with the project titled “Intelligent Emergency Digital Twin System in Metro Station for Fire Evacuation”. The proposed intelligent safety monitoring system employs top-notch technologies, including AIoT, computer vision, and deep learning, to achieve a smart fire emergency response and evacuation. It can also provide onsite evacuation guidance by dynamic exit sign systems and identify those who need immediate help near the fire incident and transfer real-time information to firemen and rescue teams.
Welcome New Visiting Students
From July 2023, two visiting students Jakub Bielawski and Dia Luan joined in the PolyU fire group for collaborative doctoral research. Jakub is a PhD student from the Building Research Institute (ITB) in Poland, supervised by Prof. Wojciech Wegrzynski. Dia is a PhD student supervised by Prof. Chuangang Fan from Central South University, China. They will conduct innovative tunnel fire research at PolyU supervised by Dr. Xinyan Huang. Big welcome!
Xinyan Receives NSFC Young Scientist Award
Xinyan, has been granted a total funding of RMB 2M from the National's 2023 Excellent Young Scientists Fund (Hong Kong & Macau). The awarded project, "Smouldering Wildfire," will provides scientific guidelines to help reduce carbon emissions from smouldering wildfires and helps reduce the hazards of wildfires and fight against global climate change. Each year, only 25 young scholars in Hong Kong and Macau are selected to receive this prestigious funding.
Digital Twin System for Fire Evacuation
This work proposes an Intelligent Emergency Digital Twin system based on computer vision and deep learning. The system comprises (1) CCTV network, (2) YOLOv4 evacuee detector, (3) DeepSORT evacuee tracker, (4) Perspective transformer, and (5) Digital Twin interface. It enables the detection and tracking of evacuees, the calculation of their egress speed, and the protection of their privacy in a digital interface. This paper is led by Yifei Ding and published in J. Building Engineering.
Battery fire conference presentation award
Xinyan and two PhD students (Yanhui Liu and Lei Zhang) attended the 3rd ISLBFS in Qingdao. Two papers were awarded, one focused on single-phase static immersion cooling and the other was focused on exploring the characteristic quantity of laser-triggered battery thermal runaway. Two presentations made by Yanhui and Xinyan got the best conference presentation awards.
Revisit the Alpert’s Law for Ceiling Jet
Derived from large fire-intensity tests, Alpert’s correlations are widely used in early fire detection design and analysis. This study validates feasibility of Alpert’s correlations in predicting ceiling jet temperature and velocity in early-stage fire scenarios. Limitations of the empirical model are demonstrated and CFD model for fire detection analysis is proposed. This work is led by Yanfu Zeng and now published in Fire Technology.
Ho Yin Presents in NFPA Conference
Ho Yin presented at the 2023 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) annual meeting and expo in Las Vegas. Ho Yin highlighted his work on intelligent dynamic exit signs, offering solutions to existing challenges and discussing potential applications. Previously, Ho Yin had undertaken a global study on fire exit sign regulations for the NFPA Research Foundation. Expanding his scholarly exchanges, Ho Yin also visited the University of California, Berkeley, where he shared his entrepreneurial experiences and engaged in discussions on the latest developments in fire engineering.
Winning SFPE Gold Medal for Three Years
Established on December 22, 2019, SFPE Hong Kong Student Chapter is the first in Greater China and the third in Asia and Australia. It was founded and chaired by Aatif Ali Khan, a PhD student of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The division aims to promote the dissemination and popularization of fire safety knowledge by holding lectures and seminars. Since winning the Gold Medal in 2021 and 2022, the chapter has won the Gold Medal again after organising many seminars/webinars and other extra-curriculum events in 2023.
Xinyan got GRF fund on deep peat fire
Xinyan is awarded over 1M HKD in GRF funding for a research project on the role of oxygen supply to the deep underground peat fire. The smoldering fire is known to hibernate in the deep soil layer for weeks and months, while the underlying mechanism and required amount of oxygen supply are still unclear. The project will also provide scientific guidelines to mitigate carbon emissions from peatland wildfires, thereby reducing the hazards associated with wildfires and climate change.
Smart Fire Safety Design for the False Ceiling
In modern buildings, false ceilings are widely used for building services systems and aesthetic purposes, but they also pose challenges in terms of fire safety. Our new paper proposes an AI-based methodology to predict the fire detection time and sprinkler activation time considering the effects of false ceiling on the smoke spread. The methodology presented in this paper can be a step towards the smart firefighting.This work is led by Dr. Aatif Khan and Dr. Tianhang Zhang and published in Process Safety and Environmental Protection.
Winning SFPE Gold Medal for Three Years
Wang Meng, a PhD student at PolyU's Fire Safety Laboratory, was interviewed by the news media during his visit to Changzhou, Jiangsu Province, to promote the university-enterprise co-operation project on "Fire-fighting Robotic Intelligent Fire Fighting System". The interview covered Wang Meng's work on the project in Changzhou and the benefits of local talent introduction. The interview was broadcast on the CCTV financial channel "Economic Information Broadcast" (2023.6.27).
Shaorun & Rahul attend Maryland Summer School
The International Combustion Institute Summer School on Fire Safety Science 2023 (Combustion Institute Summer School on Fire Safety Science) was held on 5-9 June 2023 at the University of Maryland ( University of Maryland) on 5-9 June 2023 and successfully concluded. PolyU fire graduates Dr Lin Shaorun (left) and post-doctoral fellow Dr Rahul Wadhwani (right) also participated in the poster session and had lively discussions with different scholars.
Group members attended SYTA and CTUC
The PolyU Fire Safety Team travelled to Changsha to participate in the 3rd Youth Tunneling Forum Asia (SYTA) and the China Tunneling and Underground Engineering Conference (CTUC), where former team member Dr. Xi-Qiang Wu (now Associate Professor at Southeast University) gave a conference presentation entitled "A Digital Twin-Enabled Intelligent Tunnel Safety System". PhD students Zilong Wang and Xiaoning Zhang also gave online presentations.
MOOC “Playing with Fire” is online
After two years of preparation and shooting, the MOOC “Playing with Fire” is online now. This is the world’s first online course that is dedicated to fire safety engineering. The instructors include Dr Xinyan Huang, Dr Liming Jiang, Dr Gigi Lui, Dr Anwar Orabi, Dr Aatif Khan et al. The course materials (videos and notes) are free to watch, and with an additional US$ 100, the students can get a certificate.
Welcome Prof. Bingyou Jiang & Dr Congliang Ye
We have a new visiting scholar Prof. Bingyou Jiang from the Anhui Science and Technology University since the pandemic. Prof. Jiang is an expert in mining safety and dust explosion. He will spend one year at PolyU, hosted by Dr Xinyan Huang. Dr Congliang Ye has joined us as a new postdoc fellow. He obtained his PhD from Beijing Institute of Technology, and his research area is explosion and fire suppression. Big Welcome!
Attending China Int. Battery Fair
Dr Xinyan Huang and two PhD students (Yanhui and Lei) attended the 15th China International Battery Fair in Shenzhen. The event brought together manufacturers, researchers, and investors under one roof. Many advanced battery technologies and systems were demonstrated, including next-generation lithium-ion batteries, solid-state batteries, sodium-ion batteries, etc. The fair also exhibited latest technologies across the battery chain, as well as breakthroughs in battery recycling, safety, and environmental sustainability.
Xinyan Visits UC Berkeley in Summer
Xinyan will take his first summer sabbatical leave to the US. He will start his trip from the University of California at Berkeley and visit FM Global (world’s top fire insurance company) near Boston to brainstorm new research ideas and establish new research collaborations. Xinyan will also attend the coming NFPA conference and visit many other universities along the trip.
Tsinghua-PolyU SureFire Workshop
PolyU SureFire research team co-host a workshop on Smart Firefighting with Prof. Xinzhen Lu’s group at Tsinghua University in Beijing. It is the first in-person event that SureFire team organized since the pandemic. Four faculty members (Prof. Asif Usmani, Dr Xinyan Huang, Dr Qixin Wang, and Dr Yuxin Zhang) and eight lab members (Ho Yin, Wilson, Yizhou, Yanfu, Shiyu, Yifei, Meng, and Congliang) have joined in the workshop and enjoyed the trip to Beijing. Please click "read more" for more details (In Chinese).
Fire Engineering Higher Education in China
Fire safety science and engineering is an emerging and multi-disciplinary subject. It has gone through rapid development in China over the last century. This work introduces the establishment and evolution of fire safety higher education programs, engineering license, and firefighting forces in China. This invited review is led by Prof. Supan Wang (our former visiting scholar) from Nanjing Tech University and is now published in Fire Technology.
PolyU Fire Attends HKIE Fire Symposium
Xinyan gives an invited talk of Smart Firefighting: State of the Art and Future Perspectives at the 14th HKIE Fire Division annual symposium. Four PhD students (Yanfu, Yifei, Wilson, Yunzhu and Lei) join in the symposium. BEEE colleagues Dr Liming Jiang and Dr Anthony Yuen also join in the event. PolyU Fire Lab will continue working closely with HKIE to educate more engineers and improve urban fire safety.
Modelling Framework for Fire Investigation
The forensic assessment of a major fire is quite challenging. Our new paper proposes a methodology to reconstruct the fire for the forensic assessment of tall buildings, using the Plasco Building fire and collapse as a case study. The framework presented in this paper can guide engineers to improve building resilience designs and reduce fire hazards. This work is led by Dr Aatif Khan (now a lecturer at the University of Canterbury) and published in Case Studies in Thermal Engineering.
Wilson Presents in ASPACC at Kaohsiung
PolyU Fire lab has submitted more than 5 papers to the 14th Asia-Pacific Conference on Combustion (ASPACC) in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Unfortunately, most members cannot visit Taiwan due to the visa issue. Wilson is the only one who can attend the conference in person, and he presents his latest research on modelling smouldering fire in the atrium. It is a great experience. Hopefully, all of us can attend the next ASPACC in Singapore 2025.
Attending Asia Building EXPO
Smart firefighting is a key element of smart buildings and city. HK has been actively promoting the development and application of new smart technologies in building applications. The city has organized the Asia Building EXPO annually, which provides a great opportunity for research institutes, manufacturers, building managers, and citizens to see the latest progress and further collaborate.
Modelling 2D Peat Fire Spread
The spread of smouldering peat fire is a complex wildfire phenomenon. We develop a new 2D model to simulate such a complex fire spread process that agrees with the lab experiments at a quantitative level. This work is led by Dr Han Yuan (former postdoc fellow) in collaboration with Imperial College London, and now it is published in Fuel.
Ho Yin and Wilson won IFMA Gold Award
PhD students Ho Yin Wong and Wilson Cheung received the Gold Trophy in the Asia Pacific Inter-Institutional Competition on Facility Management Project Presentation hosted by International Facility Management Association (IFMA). Their project is “Revolutionary Evacuation and Management System (REMS)”. Big Congrats!
Xiaoning Presents at ISTSS 2023
Xiaoning gives a talk of “An AIoT-based smart digital twin for real-time tunnel fire safety monitoring” at the 10th International Symposium on Tunnel Safety and Security (ISTSS 2023) in Stavanger, Norway. It is the most prestigious conference in the tunnel fire safety area, and the papers are selected with a strict review process. In the latest 2021 conference, Tianhang won the best presentation award.
Novel Hybrid Battery Thermal Management
The safety of Li-ion battery becomes a major issue of electric vehicles and massive battery energy storage system, and how to cool the battery more effectively is the key. We investigated the combination of fin, airflow, and phase change material to cool the battery cell, showing exceptional cooling performance. This work is led by Dr Shakeel Ahmad and is now published in the Journal of Energy Storage.
Attend SFPE EU conference and ITB Visit
Four PhD students, Zilong, Tianhang, Zhuojun, and Xiaoning, have attended SFPE European conference and presented their latest work. They have also visited Prof. Wojciech Węgrzyński at ITB in Poland. Now, they are all exchanging overseas: Zilong at King’s College London; Tianhang at the University of Edinburgh, Zhuojun at the University of Queensland, and Xiaoning at Lund University.
Junior Researcher Mentoring Program @ AirLab
PolyU has launched a Junior Researcher Mentoring Programme to attract secondary school students with a good academic background to do research projects with professors. PolyU Fire Lab hosts one talented student Edward to develop a smart robotic firefighting system. This project will be conducted jointed with the Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Lab (AirLab), assisted by PhD students Meng and Wilson.
Can Rain Affect the Tunnel Fire?
The risk of casualties and infrastructure damage is serious in the event of a tunnel fire. In reality, the tunnel fire can be influenced by environmental factors. Our latest work investigates how the heavy rainfall affects the dynamics and hazards of a tunnel fire. This work is led by Ms Luan, a visiting student from Central South University of China, and is published in Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology and International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer.
Wilson and Gulzan win HKIE Awards
Wilson Cheung and Gulzhan Aldan have received the HKIE awards (both Building Services and Fire disciplines) for their excellent undergraduate research project supervised by Dr Xinyan Huang. Wilson is now doing PhD with a full fellowship at PolyU, and Gulzhan is now doing PhD with a full fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania in the US.
PolyU Research Student Conference
The Graduate School is launching the first PolyU Research Student Conference (PRSC 2023) on 8-9 May 2023. Aiming at promoting innovative and high-quality research, PRSC is the flagship research student conference, providing research students in PolyU with the opportunity to present their research work and findings. All PhD students in PolyU Fire Lab attend the conference and present their research orally or on a poster.
Visit Battery System at South China Grid
Xinyan led the fire lab members on a visit to a battery energy storage station in Guangzhou, fostering discussions with engineers from the China Southern Power Grid. The visit aim was to strengthen firefighting facilities and smart emergency management systems in the energy storage station, enhancing the fire safety of battery systems by integrating research expertise and practical applications.
Former Member Siyan Wang Visit PolyU
Our former member Siyan Wang visits PolyU and shares her latest research during her summer trip. Siyan was doing her undergraduate final year project on smouldering spot ignition, which was published in Fire Safety Journal and won the HKIE student award. Currently, she is doing her PhD at the University of California at Berkeley on wildfire emission under the supervision of Prof. Michael Gollner.
Wang Meng Receives PolyU Micro Fund
Our 1st year PhD student, Wang Meng, proposed and developed a winning project titled “Autonomous Firefighting Robot”. The team will receive a HK$1.3 million start-up grant from the PolyU Micro Fund and Hong Kong Science and Technology Park (HKSTP) over a period of three years. The three-year HKSTP Incubation Programme aims to help technology start-ups specializing in deep tech research to develop innovative solutions.
Pre-charring improves Wood Fire Safey
Once heated in a fire, the wood will get charred and release flammable gases, while the char layer also prevents further flame heating. We study how much char layer is needed to generate an effective fire retardance for wood and how much the ignition delay increases. This work is led by Shaorun and in collaboration with UC Berkeley, and it is now published in Fire Safety Journal.
Xinyan Visits Tokyo University of Science
As invited by Prof. Kazunori Kuwana, Xinyan visited the Tokyo University of Science (TUS) and its Fire Research Facilities. TUS is the only university in Japan that has a Department of Fire Protection Engineering with more than 10 faculty members. It also has a unique English-taught international master's program in fire safety engineering that provide scholarships to overseas students. Xinyan’s visit strengthened the future teaching and research collaboration between PolyU and TUS.
PolyU President Visits Fire Lab
Fire lab hosts the group visit of Prof. Jin-Guang Teng (PolyU President), Dr Miranda LOU (Executive VP), Prof. Christopher Chao (VP of Research and Innovation), and Mr Simon Wong (VP of Campus Development). Xinyan introduces the latest fire safety research and the development of smart firefighting to presidents and receives great encouragement and support from the Senior Management Team.
New concept: Safe Firefighting Time (SFT)
Current design and regulations have addressed occupants’ evacuation in fire, but insufficient effort is made to ensure the safety of firefighters. To fill this gap, we propose a new concept of safe firefighting time (SFT) in fire safety design, combining the features of firefighting and evacuation. This work is led by Dr Yuxin Zhang and now published in the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction.
PolyU Fire Lab Conducts a Fire Investigation
Xinyan has led a team to investigate a recent fire incident in a high-rise building on Hong Kong Island, as requested by the property owner committee. The investigation aims to identify the cause of the fire, the level of fire damage, and the environmental hazard caused by the fire. Visiting a real fire scene also helps students understand the principles of fire dynamics and quantify the fire hazards.
Battery Safety Project from MOST
Dr Xinyan Huang, as a Co-PI, received a grant “Key Technology Development of International Li-ion Battery Energy Storage Safety Evaluation”. This project is funded by the National Key Technologies R&D Programme from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST). The project is led by Tianjin Fire Research Institute (TFRI). Other collaborators include the University of Science and Technology of China, the China University of Petroleum, China Energy Storage Alliance, etc. Together, we will develop new national and international standards for battery thermal safety.
Xiqiang Starts a Professorship at Southeast University
Dr Xiqiang Wu, former postdoc fellow (2019-2020) at PolyU Fire Lab and Research Assistant Professor (2020-2022), starts his new position as an Associate Professor at the School of Transportation, Southeast University, Nanjing, China. Xiqiang got his PhD from University of Hong Kong and was a core member of our SureFire smart firefighting project. Southeast University is a top-10 university in China and part of the “985” university program.
Caiyi Starts a New Position at SCUT
Dr Caiyi Xiong, former postdoc fellow (2019-2022) at PolyU Fire Lab, starts his new position as Tenure-Track Assistant Professor and PhD supervisor at the Department of Safety Engineering, South China University of Technology (SCUT), Guangzhou, China. Caiyi got his BEng and PhD from the University of Science and Technology of China. SCUT University is a top-20 university in China and part of the “985” university program.
Aatif Starts as a Lecturer at University of Canterbury
Dr Aatif Ali Khan, former postdoc fellow (2021-2022) at PolyU Fire Lab, starts his new position as a Lecturer at the Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering, University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Aatif got his PhD from PolyU, supervised by Prof. Asif Usmani and Dr Xinyan Huang. The University of Canterbury has one of the world’s renowned fire engineering programs and State-of-the-Art fire research facilities.
Winning Digital Future Challenge Ideation Gala
The entrepreneurial team of Wai Kit (Wilson) CHEUNG (PhD student) and Meng Wang (Research assistant) won 1st place in the Innovation Award at the Future Digital Challenge Ideation Gala with their Firefighting Metaverse project. This project has been admitted into the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation(HKSTP) IDEATION Programme for up to 100,000 HKD Financial grants.
We congratulate them on the excellent achievement and wish them continued success.
New Member Join in PolyU Fire Safety Lab
This spring, we have a new PhD student joining the lab. Mr. Lei Zhang received his bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from Jiangnan University (2021) and master's degree from Imperial College London (2022). His research interests include the structural resilience and thermal failure of Li-ion batteries.