Being an associated partner of the International Master of Science in Fire Safety Engineering (IMFSE), The University of Queensland and the UQ Fire team hosted Pascale Vacca and Nemer Abusamha during preparation of their research theses. Short letters from Pascale and Nemer describe their time in Australia.
I arrived in Brisbane in January to work on my thesis during the last semester of the IMFSE (International Masters in Fire Safety Engineering). I came from Belgium, where it was snowing, and arrived to 40 degree weather in Queensland!
Officially, the location of my last semester was supposed to be Edinburgh. However, since my supervisor is a lecturer at The University of Queensland, it was possible for me to come to Brisbane. I was really impressed by the St Lucia University campus. It is very big and full of green areas where you can have a nice walk or take a rest between classes, or in my case, when I needed a break from writing.
When I arrived I met the people of the UQ Fire Group. I was very surprised and happy to find such an international environment. Everybody was so welcoming, and made me feel at home right from the start. Also, I loved the Thursday meetings, where everybody could catch up with the others’ work.
Since I had only four months to write my thesis, I immediately started working. My thesis is about finding a multi-criteria framework, which includes energy efficiency and fire safety principles, for assemblies containing insulation materials. My work started with a broad literature review, in order to understand the topic and its issues. Once I had a better idea of the topic, I started to develop a methodology that would give quantitative results from both the energy efficiency and fire safety perspectives. I also helped out in some experimental tests, performed in order to validate the methodology. Working in the lab was a great experience!
Now that my time at UQ has come to an end, I can say that I was very lucky to have the opportunity to come to Brisbane, and to meet all the wonderful people that are part of the Fire Group. Their support during this semester, as well as their friendship, is invaluable, and I will miss them dearly.
IMFSE is a very unique study program allows the students to study a unique field and travel worldwide at the same time, I have been to all the three main different universities in the program (Ghent, Lunds and Edinburgh) and then during the end of the first academic year I was awarded to go to the University of Queensland to do my master thesis. I was very excited to come work on very interesting topic which is the Intumescent coating. My research focused on studying the effectiveness of activation for thin intumescent coating under range of heating conditions.
Soon after arrival to Brisbane I was badly sun-burned, sun in Queensland is really different from other places I have been to, it’s intense. I spent the first week finishing some lab inductions and looking for accommodation, at the same time had chance to see the Kangaroo for the first time in my life at the lone pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane. On the second week, I had meeting with my supervisors to discuss about my topic and to get the thesis starting. However, I had to go back home for one month at the end of the second week of being in Brisbane for some personal issues. After that, I came back to UQ to finish my thesis, I was super stressed as I had very tight schedule to finish my thesis. Things got a bit late in my work as the testing machine I was testing with took some time to get ready but during that time, I worked on different aspects in my thesis (heat transfer, TPS measurements..,etc.).
By beginning of April, eventually the testing method was ready, and the exciting work started, I had to run 19 tests in 10 days and then analyse the data and write down my thesis within two weeks. There was a challenging work to define the activation of the intumescent coating but eventually I was able to find a proper way to define the activation and the supervision team was a back bone for my research.
During my work on the thesis, I had time to hang out with the UQ fire group which is really friendly and amazing, it was my pleasure meeting the group and know variety of interesting work here at UQ, and here is a picture of us chilling and practicing some Arabic dance style. At the end, I would say coming to Australia and working within the UQ fire group was a unique experience, research world in fire safety engineering is really wide and here is the place to see different aspects of it.
And some good times spent outside the Fire Lab…