With underground projects becoming larger and more complex comes greater responsibility for safety and security. A new, young generation of enthusiastic engineers is therefore vital for progression in this field of expertise. The past few years saw some interesting examples of safety research carried out by young engineers. They expanded their knowledge in important areas such as fire dynamics and evacuation.
The ITA’s Committee on Operational Safety of Underground Facilities (COSUF) aims at improving and promoting safety and security underground. An important part of the committee is its support for and recognition of young researchers, students and engineers. One way to achieve this goal is the yearly COSUF award.
At the last COSUF meeting in Helsinki in October, the award was presented to Wilson Ulises Rojas Alva, who pointed out the knowledge gaps in the influence of vehicular blockage on fire dynamics. “The confinement velocity and the longitudinal velocity for both Q* regimes – the lower and the upper dimensionless heat release rate – are both not well understood, neither in horizontal tunnels nor in sloped tunnels”, he said. “More experimental work should be carried out in small-scale thermal models in order to advance the knowledge in tunnel fire dynamics.”
At WTC2015 in Dubrovnik, Karl Fridolf presented his findings about the impact of smoke on the walking speed of evacuating train passengers. As part of his PhD research, Fridolf carried out an extensive field test. In a controlled environment, 100 test subjects were asked to simulate passengers on a train that had caught fire and come to a stop in the middle of a rail tunnel. “One of the most surprising findings was that some people found the exit door, but decided to not use it,” said Fridolf. “In the smoke the door looked like the front of a train.”
The ITA COSUF Award 2017 will be presented during the ITA COSUF workshop at the AFTES International Congress, 13 to 15 November 2017 in Paris. The winner will have the opportunity to present his or her work, and ITA COSUF will cover travel and accommodation costs for them to attend the award ceremony and award a €1000 prize.
Students, young professionals or researchers under 35 years old can now apply for the ITA COSUF Award of 2017. They are eligible if they have completed research (in theory and/or practice) in the area of operational safety or security of underground facilities in the last two years. Applicants do not need to be ITA COSUF members. The deadline for application is 30 May 2017.
For more information visit http://www.ita-cosuf.org