PhD structural engineering student receives funding for fire research

By Peter Murphy

Published February 28, 2018

A PhD student in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering received an award from the Mark Diamond Research Fund (MDRF) to support part of her research.

“Research in this area really started to accelerate in recent years. The shift from prescriptive to performance-based design in fire engineering calls for experimental techniques that can capture real behavior during fire and are economical.”
Ramla Qureshi, PhD Student
Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering
Ramal Qureshi receives award to fund fire research

Ramla Qureshi, who completed a master’s under the advisement of professor Michel Bruneau, is now working on her PhD project under the advisement of assistant professor Negar Elhami Khorasani, who specializes in fire engineering and multi-hazard analysis.

“I have always been interested in structural steel design. My master’s thesis was about steel plate shear walls behave under long duration earthquakes. For my PhD project, I am focusing on devising a novel way to test performance of steel structures under fire, which is another extreme event loading condition.”

The MDRF will partially support a small-scale experiment for hybrid fire testing. In this approach, parts of a structure are modeled in a computer, and elements exposed to elevated temperatures are physically tested in the lab. During the test, the computer model communicates with the physical specimen to capture system behavior. Qureshi’s research develops a framework for hybrid testing applied to fire engineering. The Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory (SEESL) currently supports hybrid testing for seismic events.

“Ramla’s work with support from the MDRF grant will help us apply and validate the framework for hybrid fire testing on a small-scale experiment” says Elhami-Khorasani.

“Research in this area really started to accelerate in recent years. The shift from prescriptive to performance-based design in fire engineering calls for experimental techniques that can capture real behavior during fire and are economical,” says Qureshi.

About the Mark Diamond Fund

The Mark Diamond Fund was started by UB’s Graduate Student Association (GSA) in 1971 to help students gain access to funding, in order to complete their research goals. The Fund is named after Mark Diamond, a former UB graduate student, who served as the research fund’s director form 1981 – 1985. The fund was renamed in his honor shortly after his death in 1986.