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Centre for Fire and Hazards Sciences

The Centre for Fire and Hazards Sciences renowned expertise and unique testing facilities are intended to help to improve public safety through contributions to professional knowledge and international fire safety regulations.

The Centre for Fire and Hazards Sciences research is truly multidisciplinary. It covers a full range of expertise from fire safety engineering to medicine embracing chemistry, physics, biology, health and environmental sciences.

Areas our expertise cover:

  • Hazards from fire effluents and residues: Analysis of fire effluents and residues consistently shows modern fires to be more toxic than currently assumed. We have identified large quantities of several carcinogens in fire residues.
  • Fire toxicity: Fire effluents testing, measurement and their impact on a human and environment.
  • Fire chemistry: Understanding the mechanisms of decomposition and burning of materials.
  • Fire retardancy: Studying of flame retardants and their interaction with the polymers on the flammability, and toxicity.
  • Fire science: The study of the burning processes, achieved by isolating the individual steps of the overall combustion (including pyrolysis, product formation, oxidation reactions), and examining them in detail under carefully controlled laboratory conditions.
  • Fire investigation: Analysis of fire-related incidents and determination of the cause of the fires.
  • Fire testing: Analysis and interpretation of the results of small-scale tests and to make predictions about large and real scale fires.
  • Development of experimental techniques: Using unique combinations of both fire, chemical and analytical measurements to maximise our understanding of the chemistry of fuel, combustion and toxic product generation processes.

The diagram below shows the Centre for Fire and Hazards Sciences, surrounded by 6 subject areas. These are fire, toxicology, life sciences, engineering, chemistry and forensic science. Each one can be broken into several areas. Fire involves fire sciences, combustion, smoke toxicity, fire retardancy, fire investigation and indoor air quality. Toxicology involves occupational and environmental toxicology as well as emergency response. Life Sciences include cancer, clinical management, cardiovascular disease, and burn and inhalation trauma. Engineering includes fire safety engineering, fire modelling, architecture and the built environment and aerospace (through the use of drones etc.) Chemistry includes material sciences, analytical chemistry and environmental sciences. Forensic includes forensic investigation, forensic chemistry and forensic toxicology. The diagram shows how each of these provide input into the Centre for Fire and Hazards Science.

The diagram shows the Centre for Fire and Hazard Science, surrounded by 6 subject areas. These are fire, toxicology, life sciences, engineering, chemistry and forensic science. Each one can be broken into several areas.

Our facilities

The Centre for Fire and Hazards Sciences (CFHS) Research Laboratory has a wide range of experimental methods and over 50 years’ experience in the field of fire chemistry and toxicity. This accumulated knowledge and research expertise can be made available through specific research projects, general liaison, advice and consultancy services.

We have a very wide range of facilities and equipment for quantifying fire behaviour and standard testing which is available for research, consultancy and testing. If you are interested in using our facilities please get in touch to discuss.

In order to understand, and alter, the behaviour of a material in a fire, it is necessary to know as much as possible about the processes of decomposition. These processes are often highly dependent on the conditions, particularly the atmosphere. The sensitivity of changes to say air, nitrogen, air/nitrogen, and even oxygen, or to heating rate or sample shape and size, can help to identify the processes occurring. Moreover, sensitivity to these parameters gives away vital clues needed to interpret the fire behaviour.

Discover microscale techniques

During recent years, analytical techniques have been used widely for the measurement of the concentrations of specific volatiles generated during both laboratory studies and real fires.

Discover our chemical analysis and materials characterisation

Computer simulation has become an integral part of fire safety engineering and this tendency is expected to increase with the evolution of performance based design. Condensed phase fuel production, which plays a pivotal role in fire growth, has become an increasingly large research area in the last decade, resulting in the development of numerical models of pyrolysis incorporating complex arrays of physical and chemical processes.

Discover our fire modelling

Assessment of toxic hazard is increasingly being recognised as an important factor in the assessment of fire hazard. Prediction of toxic fire hazard depends on two parameters.

Discover our fire smoke and effluent generation techniques

In addition to our specialised research equipment, UCLan also have a number of ISO, EN, BS and ASTM standard tests for ignitability, flammability, and heat release determination. These can be modified for use in research programmes but are also available as standard tests so that materials and product behaviour can be determined in a standard manner and results directly related to the requirements of industry and regulators.

Discover our ignitability and flame spread techniques techniques

We are very fortunate to enjoy an excellent working relationship with a large-scale outdoor burn facility. This has allowed us to accommodate a variety of large scale tests provided they can be conducted within a shipping container, or in the open air. We can also provide mobile fire monitoring facilities for sampling and effluent analysis. Please contact us if you feel you might benefit from access to these facilities.

Discover our large scale burn facilities

Contact us

We have a very wide range of facilities and equipment for quantifying fire behaviour and standard testing which is available for research, consultancy and testing.

Please get in touch with us and we will be very pleased to discuss fire problems with you.

Latest news

Researchers:

  • Louis Turrell
  • Anna Clinton
  • Daniella Maritan-Thomson
  • Gabrielle Peck
  • Jessica Craig