Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Professor Ya-Ting Liao Received a New NSF Grant

Professor Ya-Ting Liao received a new grant from NSF’s Combustion and Fire Systems program, entitled "Ignition Propensity of Structural Materials Exposed to Firebrand in Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) Fires". The project, funded at $300K, is for the period September 1, 2018 - August 31, 2021.

This project will characterize the ignition process of materials caused by firebrand attacks, a key mechanism of wildfire spread into Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) communities.

Firebrands are small burning pieces lofted by flame plumes and transported by ambient winds. Although they are small, firebrands can travel in large groups for long distances from the fire front. These firebrands can shower unto structures in WUI communities far from the wildfire itself and therefore pose serious threats to human lives and properties. In this project, lab-scale experiments and computational modeling will be used to systematically study such phenomena. By providing a better understanding of firebrand attacks, this project will promote the development of new testing standards for building codes and materials. This work will contribute to the effort in increasing the safety of structures at the wildland-urban interface, such as optimal geometry of structure for mitigating fire risks.