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AUS hosts a symposium to improve fire safety
As part of its commitment to provide professional engineers the latest information and knowledge in technology advancements, American University of Sharjah (AUS) hosted the 2012 Mini-Symposium and Workshop on Design for Fire Resistance in Structures on Tuesday, December 11, and Wednesday, December 12, 2012.
Recent large fires in residential and industrial complexes across the region have triggered a need for education about fire safety in building design, construction and maintenance.
"AUS and the College of Engineering specifically are keen to support industry and government entities in seeking to develop better fire resistance designs for all structures," said Dr. Yousuf Al Assaf, Dean of the AUS College of Engineering, as he welcomed attendees. "We also seek to foster relationships and interactions that will benefit both sides beyond the symposium."
The symposium focused on the theoretical and practical aspects of fire engineering in relation to structural stability in fire. The speakers introduced the concepts of fire engineering for structures' safety and presented recent technological advancements. The response of steel and concrete structures during fire was discussed, along with strategies for enhancing their fire performance.
"This symposium is very important in the wake of increasing building fires in the region," said Dr. Sameh El-Sayegh, head of the AUS Department of Civil Engineering. "We hope that this symposium will have a positive impact in trying to deal with the problem."
Several renowned speakers from the around the world with varied academic and industry experience participated, including Dr. Venkatesh Kodur, Professor and Director of the Center on Structural Fire Engineering and Diagnostics at Michigan State University; Dr. Susan Lamont, CEng MSFPE, Associate Director at Arup Gulf Ltd; Dr. Rami Hawileh, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at AUS; and Mr. Peter Scott, International Paints Structural Engineering Manager.
"We are very excited to host this event and strongly believe that it will greatly enhance the knowledge base of specialized engineers in the industry," said Rami Mahfouz, Outreach Manager for the Engineering Outreach Program at AUS.
Attendees took part in four hands-on workshops on the behavior and analytical modeling of structural systems under extreme fire conditions and material properties at elevated temperatures.
"It is not possible to prevent all fires, so designers need to put in place strategies to minimize the occurrences of fires and consequently reduce their impact on life, property and environment," said Dr. Venkatesh Kodur, Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Michigan State University.
The symposium was co-sponsored by AkzoNobel, the largest global paints and coatings company and a major producer of specialty chemicals, as well as Aon Fire Protection Engineering Corporation, which specializes in fire protection engineering, code consulting and security consulting.
"By all of us collaborating together-AkzoNobel, Aon, the Society of Engineers in the UAE and the American University of Sharjah-we are assisting engineers to enhance their skills and competence. Mastering the most up-to-date research and technologies gives the participants an advantage in helping them design safer structures," said Dr. Rami Haweeleh, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at AUS.