Dr. Tony L. Graham

Senior Lecturer in Fire Engineering

School of Engineering

JBFirth 012

+44 (0) 1772 89 5379


Subject Areas: Engineering, Fire


BSc(Hons) Theoretical Physics, Lancaster University 1994
PhD Fire Engineering, University of Central Lancashire 1998

Tony is research active within the area of fire and hazards science and is a member of the Centre for Fire and Hazards Science.

Full Profile

Dr Graham was a native of working class Essex and attended one of the worst public schools. Fortunately, the annual results for the school were so appalling the head of school pushed to re-establish a sixth form so that leavers could get at least two GCSE’s. Tony opted to study physics, having never had a lesson on the subject before and found it to be something more engaging than the month spent in Geography colouring pictures. During these years he worked as paperboy, cleaner at Happy Eater, soap packager at Yardley’s and kitchen leader at Pizza hut (six staff to command at age 17).

In the early 90’s he went to study theoretical physics at Lancaster University and has stayed in Lancashire ever since. At Lancaster he started the science fiction society “pulsar” which is the second largest non-sports society today. Tony was also active in the physics society. He used to walk the eight miles a day to university from Morecombe bay.

After graduation, and some summer work Tony joined UCLan in 1993 to research “ignition and combustion in venting enclosures”. This was a non-linear dynamics modelling problem of how fire sometimes develops catastrophically. This was also the first UK student for the new UK Chair of Fire Engineering, Professor Georgy Makhviladze.

1994 was a big year for fire engineering at UCLan with its first cohort of graduates and the launch of the Centre for Fire and Explosion Studies. Tony started teaching dissertations and “fire engineering science” and was an active member of the newly launched Centre.

After graduation Dr Graham stayed at UCLan to pursue the research and was an hourly paid ad-hoc lecturer for a while before becoming permanent staff. In 1997 Tony received the Nuffield foundation award to newly appointed lecturers. He has been PhD examiner nine times, and a member of several committees including: Academic Board, University Review Panel (validations and accreditations), School Extenuating Circumstances panel, Teaching and Learning Quality Standards Committee, etc.

Tony has published a number of articles on compartment fire development as well as a number of reviews for Journals and conferences. He has been a mentor for Energy Institute, a referee for EPSRC and completed several consultancy projects. Tony has given invited lectures to Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) and Lancashire Occupational Health & Safety Group (LOSHG). He is still at University of Central Lancashire today, but as senior lecturer and longest serving staff member in fire engineering. The tally is now at 150 modules delivered including 12 modules in Hong Kong, 2 in Sultanate of Oman. Course leader since 1994 (which means such things as timetabling, boards, open days and school visits). Instrumental in the creation of many modules as well as the course MEng Fire Engineering. In 2012 Tony became the secretary of the CEFE (combustion, explosion and fire engineering research group) within School of Forensic & Investigative Sciences. In 2015 he was awarded Senior Fellow status with the higher education academy.

None of the above has dimmed Tony’s eagerness for teaching, knowledge transfer and research; the success of his thousands of students has given him immense pleasure in an academic career.

Upcoming articles-

  •  S. Ndlovu, K. Khan, T. Graham, Comparison of a simplified two-zone compartment-fire model to experimental data
  • K Khan, J Mai, T Graham, Quantification of some simple chaotic models using Lyapunov exponents
  • T Graham, K Khan, J Mai, An irrational vector space and one simple pdf for fire-sprinkler modelling
  • T. Graham, A. Chamchine, A simplified model of oscillating room-fire behaviour
Research Groups

CEFE (combustion fire and explosion group), Centre for Research in Fire & Hazards Science

Social Media


Featured Publications

T. L. Graham, G. M. Makhviladze, J. P. Roberts (1995) On the theory of flashover development; Fire Safety Journal, Volume 25, Issue 3, Pages 229-259;

T. L. Graham, G. M. Makhviladze, J. P. Roberts (1999) The effects of the thermal inertia of the walls upon flashover development; Fire Safety Journal, Volume 32, Issue 1, Pages 35-60;

Graham, T. L. (2011) On the Effects of Ventilation on the Hydrodynamic Oscillation Period in Compartment Fires. In: Sixth International Seminar on Fire and Explosion Hazards, 11-16 April 2010, Leeds

Graham, T.L. (2012) Simplified Equations for Flashover in Compartment Fire, Fire and Explosion Hazards

More publications



Projects include compartment fire dynamics (i.e. backdraught, ghosting etc.), environmental impact of fires and fire protection/suppression, risk analysis (anti-terrorism, environment, fire, etc.), evacuation modelling including physiological sub-modelling and kinanthropometry.

Membership of professional and learned bodies

  • Chartered member of Institute of Physics,
  • Chartered Member of Energy Institute,
  • Member of Institution of Fire Engineers,
  • Member of Combustion Institute,
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Teaching activities and responsibilities

Tony has a significant amount of teaching in UK and Hong Kong every year. In two decades he has lectured/spoken for approx. 250,000 student-hours and was acknowledged as Senior Fellow of HEA in 2015.

Main subject areas this (quiet) year will be fire dynamics and probabilistic risk. Modules FV3001, FV3103, FV3102, FV4001 (three times in one year), FV4103 (two times in one year).

Course leader for:
MSc Fire Safety engineering
MEng Fire Engineering 

Course developer, University review panel member. Internal chair for PhD examinations.

External Activities

  • Chartered member of Institute of Physics,
  • Chartered Member of Energy Institute,
  • Member of Institution of Fire Engineers,
  • Member of Combustion Institute,
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


  • Personal research is in two main areas: fire dynamics and probabilistic risk engineering.
  • Currently supervising five postgraduate research students.


FEH7 Leeds 2010