Fire, Explosion and Fluid Dynamics

The theme was established at Kingston University in 1998. It aims to deliver high quality research, postgraduate training and consultancy services in fire and explosion modelling as well as environmental flows.

Our research is internationally renowned for its modelling capabilities based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) techniques with a primary focus on large eddy and direct numerical simulations (LES and DNS) and RANS-based CFD for problems involving very large domain.

With a clear focus on models development to address the underlying physical and chemical processes, we have established a niche that strikes a fine balance between fundamental research, high quality publications and industrial applications related to fire and explosion safety in the built environment, transport systems, process plants and offshore platforms.

Research themes

Fire and explosion research

  • Compartment fires, pool and jet fires
  • Large scale Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) fires
  • Flame spread
  • Hydrogen jet fires
  • Glass behaviour in fires
  • Fibre reinforced polymers (FRP) strengthening of structural elements in fires
  • Fire resistance of structural elements
  • Vapour cloud and hydrogen explosions
  • Transition to detonation in vapour cloud explosions
  • Modelling large scale vapour cloud detonation
  • Flame acceleration and deflagration to detonation transition (DDT)
  • Impact and blast loading on structural elements

Prevention, protection and mitigation

  • Waterspray, watermist and micromist for fire suppression and explosion control
  • Sprinkler spray in fire suppression
  • Water spray curtains for fire protection
  • Structure response to fire and blast loading
  • The response of glazing systems in fires

Hazardous release and dispersion

  • High pressure gas leaks modelling
  • Modelling accidental releases of dangerous gases from mobile sources and petrochemical plants
  • Hydrogen jet releases from high pressure systems or small leaks in relation to vehicle applications
  • Multi-phase carbon dioxide during pipeline transmission for carbon capture and storage (CCS) applications
  • Heavy gas dispersion incorporating the effect of atmospheric boundary layer, obstacles and terrain

Fundamental research and complex flow systems modelling and simulation

  • Sub-grid scale models for turbulence, combustion and soot
  • High-pressure / flameless combustion
  • Advanced radiative heat transfer and gas radiation models for fires and combustion systems
  • Spray and sprinkler models
  • Multiphase flows modelling
  • Verification and development of simplified chemistry for turbulent combustion modelling
  • Direct and large-eddy simulation of transitional and turbulent flows
  • Aerodynamics
  • Thermo-fluids
  • Internal combustion engines
  • Energy systems.

Research projects

Completed research projects

  1. "Investigation of new engineering solutions to improve fire protection by water mist curtains"

    Investigators: Dr S. Dembele (PI)
    Funding body/source: Leverhulme Trust – Visiting Professorship Grant - £100,000
    Duration: 2019–2020
  2. RAD-FIRE "Efficient methods for radiative heat transfer analysis in fires and water sprays for fire suppression"

    Investigators: Dr S. Dembele (PI), Dr K. Volkov, Dr A. Heidari, Professor J. Wen (CIs)
    Funding body/source: EU H2020 MSCA – €150,000
    Duration: 2017–2019
    Find out more about the RAD-FIRE research project
  3. SafeLNG "Numerical characterization and simulation of the complex physics underpinning the safe handling of Liquefied Natural Gas"

    Investigators: Professor J. Wen (PI, University Warwick), Dr S. Dembele (CI)
    Funding body/source: EU FP7, Marie-Curie – €1.7m
    Duration: 2014-2018
  4. "Optimisation of the Fire Protection Performance of Water Mist based on an Advanced Analytical Approach"
    Investigators: Dr S. Dembele (PI)
    Funding body/source: Royal Academy of Engineering – Distinguished Visiting Fellowship Scheme, £4.7k
    Duration: Feb–July 2015
  5. "Development of a water spray screening method for fires in Flaresim"
    Investigators: Dr S. Dembele (PI)
    Funding body/source: Softbits Consultants Ltd, £15k
    Duration: Aug–Nov 2013
  6. "Modelling the initial spray characteristics of fire sprinklers"
    Investigators: Professor J. Wen (PI), Dr S. Dembele (CI)
    Funding body/source: FM Global, USA
    Duration: 2009–2013
  7. "Modelling glazing behaviour in fires"
    Investigators: Professor J. Wen (PI), Dr S. Dembele (CI)
    Funding body/source: Pilkington Plc
    Duration: 2005–2009
  8. FIRENET "Under-Ventilated Compartment Fires"
    Investigators (KU):
    Professor J. Wen (PI), Dr S. Dembele (CI)
    Collaborators: Iceland Fire Authority, University of Ulster, CNRS – ENSMA – Poitiers, Universita of Napoli, University of Liege, National Technical University of Athens, AEA Technology UK and Lund University Sweden
    Funding body/source: EU FP5 – €1.53M (€385K for Kingston University)
    Duration: 2002–2006


Academic staff

PhD students

  • Okorie Ukairo Advancing CFD fire modelling in mechanically ventilated nuclear facilities
    First Supervisor: Dr Siaka Dembele
    Other supervisors: Dr K. Volkov, Dr A. Heidari, Professor J. Wen (University of Warwick), Dr H. Pretrel (IRSN, France)
  • Sooraj P. Vasudevan – Ignition delay in premixed turbulent combustion
    First Supervisor: Dr Siva Muppala
    Other supervisors: Dr S. Dembele

Contact us

For more information, please contact Dr Siaka Dembele (Theme Leader).

Fire, explosion and fluid dynamics