Danielle Antonellis, ‘12

Major: Civil Engineering

Spalling Predictions and Associated Capacity Losses from Hydrothermal Effects. Our project investigated fire-induced spalling and the associated losses of cross-section caused by increased pore pressures at elevated temperatures. This was modeled conceptually to explore the impacts of construction and design practices and to analytically evaluate the impacts of cross-sectional losses. The model was tested with normal and high-strength concrete column designs consistent with provisions of ACI 318; the fire conditions were based on ASTM E-119. Similar data sets could be considered to further our understanding of fire-induced spalling.

Why I chose this project:
I knew I wanted to do a project that merged civil engineering and fire protection engineering. Our original project was the evaluation of a building that collapsed from a fire in 2008, but our project had a life of its own. Our interests led us to research the process of spalling. It was a perfect marriage of fire protection engineering and civil engineering, with a focus on materials. It was unique from every other project at WPI--it was our own.

What I learned from my MQP:
I learned about general research, materials, and modeling. Beyond technical skills, my MQP taught me how to use my resources to create something unique and valuable.

How this experience made me stronger in my field:
Both the civil engineering and fire protection engineering fields focus on research of material properties. My project focused on the behavior of reinforced concrete in fire conditions, which bridges the gap between these fields. As a civil engineer, I have evaluated the impact fire has on the capacity of structural members. As a fire protection engineer, I have learned how the type, magnitude, and speed of fires influence a structure.

Additional comments about the project system in general at WPI:
The WPI project system sets WPI graduates apart from all other engineering graduates. Throughout my four years at WPI, I have completed countless projects, including a Great Problems Seminar project (GPS; freshman year), Interdisciplinary Qualifying Project (IQP; junior year, in Copenhagen, Denmark), and a Major Qualifying Project (MQP; senior year). These projects have presented unique real-world challenges. I have learned how to work with others, systematically approach a problem, and document and present my work in a professional manner.

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