Progress report 2020

Published (News)

The following popular scientific presentation of activities in FRIC during 2020 is uploaded to the Research Council of Norway’s project bank, and is presented again here for our readers. 

Annually fires lead to major losses in terms of fatalities, injured people, and lost values. In response to this challenge, the Fire Research and Innovation Centre (FRIC) started in the spring of 2019. The main objective is to increase knowledge within the field of fire science in order to support decisions and develop better solutions providing increased fire safety in buildings. FRIC shall strengthen cooperation and lead to a long-term increase of competence and dissemination of knowledge within the fire safety field.

The research is organized into four work packages:
1) Evidence-based decision-making within fire safety
2) Fire dynamics and modeling
3) Building technology and design
4) Fire safety measures and new technology

Multidisciplinary collaboration is a prerequisite for the development of good solutions in the centre. FRIC is led by RISE Fire Research in Trondheim, with NTNU and SINTEF as research partners. The research centre has partners from the public sector, consultancy engineers, manufacturers of building materials and building installations, as well as within real estate development and management.

Communication and research dissemination are important tasks in FRIC. This applies to both the dissemination of new knowledge gained through the projects, as well as existing knowledge within the themes that FRIC focuses on. Increased innovation in the fire area is an important goal in FRIC, and within the field there are various types of innovation that may be relevant, such as product-, market- and organizational innovation. Innovation is a topic that is regularly addressed in various contexts in FRIC, so that everyone involved has a common understanding of objectives and instruments.

One project activity in work package 1 is to investigate how best to achieve learning from fire investigations and as part of that we have mapped systems used by other countries for learning from fire incidents. Work on registering information from publicly available investigation reports of fires is also underway. The article "Learning from fire investigations and research - A Norwegian perspective on moving from a reactive to a proactive fire safety management" was published in the Fire Safety journal in May 2020 as a result of the work in FRIC.

In work package 2, a PhD student has started and will study modeling of turbulent combustion. In a project that deals with smouldering fires, small-scale testing is initiated and test set-ups for medium-scale trials are under development.

Work package 3 currently studies the properties of different combustible insulation materials, e.g. cellulosic fibre, wood fibre, phenolic foam, PIR etc. Since they are combustible, their use is limited by the regulations. However, the materials behave very differently in a fire. Some products shrink and melt, while others char with different charring velocity.

FRIC also contributes to standardisation work by producing documentation for new and improved methods for fire dimensioning of wooden structures. FRIC also collaborates with the University of Tallinn on experiments and development of calculation methods for building elements with I-beams and filled with combustible insulation. The methods are to be used to determine the fire resistance property and load capacity after a given fire exposure duration. In addition, work on mapping design tools and selected solutions to develop a best practice for fire design of large wooden buildings is started. A PhD candidate is employed and researches fire development in buildings with solid wood structures, both regarding fire inside the building and fire exposure on the facade.

In work package 4, concerning fire safety measures and smart technology, we find projects that deal with efficient and safe extinguishing methods and with protective abilities of turnout gear. We also find projects that look at fire safety measures for homes, on fireproof and sustainable furniture, and on how new technology such as batteries and solar panels affect fire safety in our homes and buildings. This year, we have had a lot of focus on mapping what is state-of-the-art within the various topics, finding out where there are knowledge gaps, and making plans for how FRIC will bridge these. An exciting, published result from this work is the open FRIC report "Fire performance of escape route doors in cultural heritage buildings", where we get an insight into how old wooden doors in buildings worthy of protection can be upgraded to improve fire properties. In addition, test activity is ongoing in the projects, with both small- and large-scale fire experiments, where we study components in fire smoke to which firefighters are exposed. In this way, we will develop test methods to evaluate how well the protective equipment protects against harmful substances. Fire testing will also be a central part of the work of a new PhD candidate, who will work with solar cell technology and fire safety, from spring 2021.

Here you may find FRIC in the project bank of Research Council of Norway: