Innovative Fire and Façade Engineering

Mission statement
The core function of the IFFE Group is to conduct cutting-edge research related to fire engineering technologies to ensure fire safety and protect lives. 


Dr. Kate T. Q. Nguyen

Dr. Kate Nguyen is the Senior Lecturer and ARC DECRA Fellow at RMIT University. She works in Materials Engineering with a focus on fire performance of materials and structures. She is the leader of the Innovative Fire & Facade Engineering Group and presently involved in a number of projects on fire design and protection of buildings in Australia and overseas. 

Research interests:

  • Fire dynamics and fire protection engineering

  • Fire safety design compliant to codes and standards

  • CFD modeling

  • Fire performance of materials and effect of flame retardants

  • High performance concrete

  • Nanotechnology and innovative materials in construction

  • Nanocomposites

  • High performance building facade systems

Dr. Long Shi

Dr. Long Shi is a lecturer at RMIT University. He obtained his PhD degree from the National University of Singapore. He has focused on fire safety engineering and solar thermal energy for over a decade. He has authored and co-authored over 40 SJR Q1 journal papers in top international journals such as in Fire Safety Journal, and Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. His research outcomes have also led to the practical applications, such as the Kingston City Council building in Melbourne, which is the world-first solar chimney design in real building considering both functions of natural ventilation and smoke exhaustion.

Prof. Kevin Zhang

Prof. Kevin Zhang is currently the Associate Dean of the School of Engineering, Civil and Insfrastructure Engineering Discipline at RMIT University. He is interested in the application of cutting-edge project and construction management techniques in delivering a sustainable built environment.


Research interests:

  • Green construction and sustainable built environment including refurbishment/re-life of buildings

  • Building information modelling (BIM)

  • Automated Construction

  • Project Risk Management and Decision Making

  • Contract and Procurement

  • Constructability

  • Civil Engineering and Safety Engineering

  • Climate change and adaptation responses for built environment

Pasindu Thalpe Guruge

Pasindu obtained his BSc in Civil Engineering in 2015 from the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka along with the award for the most outstanding graduand of the faculty of engineering. He went on to obtain his MSc by research in 2016 by conducting studies on early age plastic shrinkage properties of fresh concrete. He was awarded with the Melbourne International Research Scholarship to pursue his PhD in 2016 and since then he is working on evaluating the performance of concrete flat slabs in fire. He has also undertaken testing, modelling and evaluating fire resistance of facades and structures.

Prof. Priyan Mendis

Prof. Priyan Mendis is the Director of the ARC Centre for Advanced Manufacturing of Prefabricated Housing and the Leader of the Advanced Protective Technologies for Engineering Structures (APTES) Group at the University of Melbourne. He was the Convener of the ARC Research Network for a Secure Australia (RNSA).

Research interests:

  • Structural fire behaviour

  • High-strength concrete

  • Modelling and durability of infrastructure, new construction and defence materials, sustainable infrastructure 

  • Nanotechnology in construction, structural bio-engineering

  • Protective technology for structures (blast effects)

  • Testing and assessment of infrastructure (non-destructive testing)

  • Wind effects on tall buildings

Shyanaka Dananjaya

Dan obtained his BSc in Civil Engineering in 2012 and later obtained his MPhill in Earthquake and Structural Engineering in 2015. His findings from the master thesis is currently being used by the Structural Engineering community in Sri Lanka to design the earthquake resistive structures. After completing his masters, he joined the Industry and served in various capacities where he was the consultant Project Manager of an AUD 100 Million project before starting his PhD. He is currently looking at the Fire behaviour of different building facades and the interaction of wind and fire during a façade fire.

Allyssa Estacio

Allyssa holds a BSc (Hons) in Civil Engineering from the University of Santo Tomas, Philippines and an M.Eng. in Structural Engineering from the University of Melbourne. After graduation, she joined IFFE group as a research assistant and has been involved in the research of modern façade systems and fire reactions of construction materials. She also undertakes research support for industry projects relating to fire behaviour of innovative facade materials through advanced testing techniques that are compliant to the National Construction Code.

Advisory Board

Dist. Prof. Adrian Mouritz
Dr. Jonathan Barnett
Gary Strong


Nguyen, T. Q.; and Tran, P. “Fire performance of maritime composites”. Maritime composites. 2017.

Nguyen, T. Q.; Ngo, T.; Tran, P. “Fire resistance of a prefabricated Bushfire Bunker using Aerated Concrete Panels”. Construction and Building Materials, 2017. In review.

Nguyen, Q.; Ngo, T..;Bai, Y.; and Tran, J. “Experimental and numerical investigations on the thermal response of multilayer glass fibre/unsaturated polyester/organoclay composite: Glass Fibre/Unsaturated Polyester/Organoclay Composite”. Fire and Materials, Vol. 40, Issue 8, p. 1047, 23 p., 2016.

Nguyen, Q. T.; Ngo, T.; Mendis, P.; Zobec, M.; Aye, L. “Fire performance of prefabricated modular units using organoclay/glass fibre reinforced polymer composite”. Construction and Building Materials, Vol. 129, pp. 204-215, 2016.

Ngo, T.; Nguyen, Q. T.; Tran, P. “Heat release and flame propagation in prefabricated modular unit with GFRP composite facades”. Building Simulation, Vol. 9, Issue 5, p. 607, 10 p., 2016.

Ngo, T.; Nguyen, Q.; Nguyen, T.; Tran, P. “Effect of Nanoclay on Thermal properties of Epoxy/Glass Fibre Composites”. Arabian Journal for Science & Engineering, Vol. 41, Issue 4, pp. 1251-1261, 2016.

Nguyen, T. Q. "Fire performance of GFRP Façades", 2016.

Nguyen, Q. T.; Ngo, T.; Tran, P.; Mendis, P.; Bhattacharyya, D. “Influences of clay and manufacturing on fire resistance of organoclay/thermoset nanocomposites”. Composites Part A, Vol 74, pp. 26-37, 2015.

Nguyen, Q. T.; Tran, P.; Ngo, T. D.; Tran, P. A. and Mendis, P. “Experimental and Computational Investigations on Fire Resistance of GFRP Composite for Building Façade”. Composites Part B: Engineering. Vol 62, pp. 218-229, 2014.

Mendis, P.; Nguyen, Q. and Ngo, T. “Fire performance of high strength concrete walls”, Concrete in Australia, Vol. 40, issue 3, pp. 38-43, 2014.

Nguyen, Q.; Ngo, T.; Mendis, P. and Tran, P. “Composite Materials for the Next Generation Building Façade Systems”, Civil Engineering and Architecture, Vol 1, issue 3, pp. 88-95, 2013.

Nguyen, T. Q.; Nguyen, D. H. “Semi-dry method to manufacture fireclays”, Vietnam Building Ceramic, Vol 59, pp. 39-41, 2010.

Nguyen, T. Q.; Nguyen, T. D. “Nanoceramic membrane for filters”, Vietnam Building Ceramic, Vol 59, pp. 42-46, 2010.

Nguyen, Q.; Ngo, T. D.; Tran, P. and Mendis, P. “Effect of Organoclay on Fire Performance and Manufacturing Process of Thermosetting Composites”. 22nd Annual International Conference on Composites/Nano Engineering, Malta, 2014.

Nguyen, Q.; Ngo, T.; Moinuddin, K. and Mendis, P. “Use of nanoclay to improve fire performance of glass fibre composites”. 4th International Conference on Smart Materials and Nanotechnology in Engineering, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia 2013.

Nguyen, Q.; Mendis, P.; Ngo, T. and Bhattacharyya, D. “Effect of Nanoclay on Fire Performance of Hybrid Nanocomposites”. 19th International Conference on Composite Materials, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 2013.

Nguyen, Q.; Ngo, T. and Mendis, P. “Innovative materials for the next generation of façade systems”. 22nd Australian Conference on the Mechanics of Structures and Materials, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 2012.

Nguyen, Q.; Ngo, T. and Mendis, P. “A review on fire protection for phase change materials in building applications”. 22nd Australian Conference on the Mechanics of Structures and Materials, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 2012.

Nguyen, Q. T.; Ngo, T. and Mendis, P. “Performance-enhancement of Phase Change Materials for Energy Conservation in the Built Environment: A state-of-art review”. International Conference on Sustainable Built Environment, Kandy, Sri Lanka, 2011.

Lang, LWang, QZhang, GShi, LDong, J and Pu, J 2018, 'A method of detecting the cracks of concrete undergo high-temperature', Construction and Building Materials, no. 162, pp. 345-358.

Gong, JLi, JLi, CShi, LWang, XWang, SJiang, J and Wang, Z 2018, 'Analytical prediction of heat transfer and ignition time of solids exposed to time-dependent thermal radiation', International Journal of Thermal Sciences, vol. 130, pp. 227-239.

Gong, JStoliarov, SShi, LLi, JZhu, SZhou, Y and Wang, Z 2019, 'Analytical prediction of pyrolysis and ignition time of translucent fuel considering both time-dependent heat flux and in-depth absorption', Fuel, vol. 235, pp. 913-922.

Shi, L and Zhang, G 2016, 'An empirical model to predict the performance of typical solar chimneys considering both room and cavity configurations', Building and environment, vol. 103, pp. 250-261.

Shi, LChew, MLiu, XCheng, XWang, B and Zhang, G 2017, 'An experimental and numerical study on fire behaviors of charring materials frequently used in buildings', Energy and Buildings, vol. 138, pp. 140-153.

Moinuddin, KBruck, D and Shi, L 2017, 'An experimental study on timely activation of smoke alarms and their effective notification in typical residential buildings', Fire Safety Journal, vol. 93, pp. 1-11.

Shi, L and Chew, M 2013, 'A review of fire processes modeling of combustible materials under external heat flux', Fuel, vol. 106, pp. 30-50.

Shi, L and Chew, M 2012, 'A review on sustainable design of renewable energy systems', Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 192-207.

Huang, DGuo, CZhang, M and Shi, L 2017, 'Characteristics of nanoporous silica aerogel under high temperature from 950 °C to 1200 °C', Materials and Design, vol. 129, pp. 82-90.

Lang, LPu, JDong, JShi, LZhang, G and Wang, Q 2017, 'Effects of cement dosage and cooling regimes on the compressive strength of concrete after post-fire-curing from 800 °C', Construction and Building Materials, vol. 142, pp. 208-220.

Huang, DZhang, MShi, L, Yuan, Q and Wang, S 2018, 'Effects of particle size of silica aerogel on its nano-porous structure and thermal behaviors under both ambient and high temperatures', Journal of Nanoparticle Research, vol. 20, no. 11, pp. 1-15.

Huang, YGong, LShi, L, Cao, WPan, Y and Cheng, X 2018, 'Experimental investigation on the influencing factors of preparing porous fly ash-based geopolymer for insulation material', Energy and Buildings, vol. 168, no. 1, pp. 9-18.

Huang, DZhang, MGuo, CShi, L and Lin, P 2018, 'Experimental investigations on the effects of bottom ventilation on the fire behavior of natural rubber latex foam', Applied Thermal Engineering, vol. 133, pp. 201-210.

Shi, L and Chew, M 2013, 'Experimental study of woods under external heat flux by autoignition: Ignition time and mass loss rate', Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry, vol. 111, no. 2, pp. 1399-1407.

Zhang, SCheng, XZhu, KYao, YShi, L and Zhang, H 2017, 'Experimental study on curved flame characteristics under longitudinal ventilation in a subway tunnel', Applied Thermal Engineering, vol. 114, pp. 733-743.

Yao, YCheng, XShi, LZhang, SHe, KPeng, M and Zhang, H 2018, 'Experimental study on the effects of initial sealing time on fire behaviors in channel fires', International Journal of Thermal Sciences, vol. 125, pp. 273-282.

Shi, L and Chew, M 2013, 'Fire behaviors of polymers under autoignition conditions in a cone calorimeter', Fire Safety Journal, vol. 61, pp. 243-253.

Huang, DZhang, MShi, LPeng, LYuan, Q and Wang, S 2019, 'Fire behaviors of single and laminated natural latex foam', International Journal of Thermal Sciences, vol. 136, pp. 278-286.

Shi, L, Zhang, G and Setunge, S 2017, 'Fire behaviour modelling of polypropylene under autoignition conditions', in A.R. Masri, M. Cleary, M. Dunn, A. Kourmatzis, E.R. Hawkes, S. Kook, and Q.N. Chan (ed.) Proceeding of the 11th Asia-Pacific Conference on Combustion (ASPACC-11), Sydney, Australia, 10-14 December 2017, pp. 1-4.

Fu, YLu, SShi, LCheng, X and Zhang, H 2018, 'Ignition and combustion characteristics of lithium ion batteries under low atmospheric pressure', Energy, vol. 161, pp. 38-45.

Shi, L and Chew, M 2012, 'Influence of moisture on autoignition of woods in cone calorimeter', Journal of Fire Sciences, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 158-169.

Yao, YHe, KPeng, MShi, LCheng, X and Zhang, H 2018, 'Maximum gas temperature rise beneath the ceiling in a portals-sealed tunnel fire', Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology, vol. 80, pp. 10-15.

Yao, YCheng, XZhang, SZhu, KZhang, H and Shi, L 2017, 'Maximum smoke temperature beneath the ceiling in an enclosed channel with different fire locations', Applied Thermal Engineering, vol. 111, pp. 30-38.

Shi, LChew, MNovozhilov, V and Joseph, P 2015, 'Modeling the pyrolysis and combustion behaviors of non-charring and intumescent-protected polymers using "firescone"', Polymers, vol. 7, no. 10, pp. 1979-1997.

Shi, LGong, JHuang, DLiu, X and Zhang, K 2018, 'Numerical study on the spontaneous combustion of high-density polyethylene', Procedia Engineering, vol. 211, pp. 621-628.

Chew, MHoang, N and Shi, L 2011, 'Pyrolysis of Tropical Hardwood under Long-term and Low-temperature Conditions', International Journal on Architectural Science, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 17-27.

Yao, YCheng, XZhang, SZhu, KShi, L and Zhang, H 2016, 'Smoke back-layering flow length in longitudinal ventilated tunnel fires with vertical shaft in the upstream', Applied Thermal Engineering, vol. 107, pp. 738-746.

Zhu, KYao, YZhang, SYang, HZhang, RCheng, X and Shi, L 2017, 'Smoke Movement in a Sloping Subway Tunnel Under Longitudinal Ventilation with Blockage', Fire Technology, vol. 53, no. 6, pp. 1985-2006.

Wang, JJiao, YXie, QLi, G and Shi, L 2017, 'Transport time lag effect on smoke flow characteristics in long-narrow spaces', Fire Technology, vol. 53, no. 3, pp. 983-1010.





For any inquiries, questions or commendations, please fill out the following form

Dr. Kate Nguyen

IFFE Leader

Tel: +61 3 9925 8164

Mob: +61 406 822 279