NEWS: The FRISSBE Project to Give New Zest to Fire Safety Research
On Thursday, 10 June 2021, at the Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute (ZAG), we successfully presented the project FRISSBE – FIRE-SAFE SUSTAINABLE BUILT ENVIRONMENT, financed by the European Commission within the Widespread: ERA Chair (952395) mechanism of the Horizon 2020 programme, which will increase the scientific excellence of ZAG in the field of fire and fire safety. This project will have an international impact in the field of research, education and engineering, will strengthen our cooperation with industry and increase our success in obtaining new projects. The content of the project is highly interdisciplinary and linked to InnoRenew CoE, funded by the European Commission in the Widespread Teaming mechanism (739574) of the Horizon 2020 programme, as well as to the activities of the InnoRenew CoE institute and the University of Primorska.
At the event, introductory speeches were given by Dr Andraž Legat, Project Coordinator, Dr Tomaž Boh, Director General of the Science Directorate at the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, and Dr Aleš Žnidarič, Director of the Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute.
This was followed by lectures on the importance of fire research by Dr. Jose L. Torero, Professor and Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, University College London, Faculty of Engineering Science; by the presentation of the FRISSBE project by Dr Urška Kropf, Project Manager, by the presentation of FRISSBE project topics and the equipment of the Logatec Fire Laboratory by Friderik Knez, Head of the Construction Physics Department; and the presentation of the Logatec Fire Laboratory Building by Marko Brezigar, Technical Assistant Director of ZAG.
Mr Knez pointed out that we want to place the ZAG Fire Laboratory at the forefront of this field in southern Europe by 2025. With the new equipment, which will be acquired with the help of public funds (the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and the Slovenian Research Agency), we will be able to test various samples in sizes ranging from 10cm to 8m. There are many challenges ahead of us, such as research into burning, toxicity and flue gas processes. Experimental methods do not currently reflect real fire scenarios and are still missing for certain areas of fire protection (tunnel fires, facade fires and deep litter fires). We will study new materials, recycled materials and composites, because their fire behaviour is often unknown and, based on these studies, the targeted modification of materials can be suggested.
Within the framework of the FRISSBE project, we are building a group of internationally established and aspiring researchers who will have access to top-class modern research equipment. ZAG is building a new Fire Laboratory in the Logatec industrial district, which will begin operating in 2022.
At the Fire Laboratory and Fire Engineering Department, we are currently mainly engaged in research and testing in the field of passive fire protection. We are testing construction products for which fire performance needs to be determined: reaction to fire and fire resistance, and we are also testing products for the needs of the shipbuilding industry. In recent years, the laboratory has acquired several pieces of new research equipment to intensively engage in various forms of research within the framework of the EU research programmes and also for the needs of the economy. Special emphasis is placed on the cone calorimeter (ISO 5660-1) and the FTIR (Fourer transform infra red) flue gas analyser, which enable materials research even at low TRL (Technology Readiness Level) developmental stages.
Two large furnaces will be installed in the new laboratory in Logatec: a vertical one and a combined one to enable measurements of the fire resistance of the load elements of the construction, all in virtually any fire scenario. A new acquisition will also be a large open testing facility with a large calorimeter that will allow measurements of façades and random constructions of up to 10MW, the simultaneous analysis of flue gases with the FTIR and subsequent analysis with the GC MS (gas chromatograph assembly and mass spectrometer). The laboratory will also provide equipment for a standardised angular room test, which will allow measurements of the time from the start of the fire to the flashover in a room lined with the tested coating.
The FRISSBE ERA Chair is the fourth approved project of its kind in Slovenia and it will take 6 years. ZAG is the only Slovenian Research Institution involved in two projects from two different EU Widening mechanisms: Teaming and ERA Chair. We cooperate excellently within both mechanisms with InnoRenew CoE and the University of Primorska, which demonstrates the exceptional compatibility and mutual trust of all participants.
dr. Andraž Legat, dr. Klavdija Kutnar, dr. Aleš Žnidarič, dr. Urška Kropf, Friderik Knez