Current fire-safety standards do not fully account for the wide range of combustibility of materials found in industrial settings. Nor do the standards provide for accurate measurement of hazardous dust accumulation within the environment. My research addresses combustion, industrial fire protection, and explosion protection. Among the potentially life-saving projects I’m working on is the development of measurement and ~sensing devices designed to identify the presence, velocity, and flow direction of smoke. Tunnels, tall buildings, and underground transit systems will be safer once this new technology is deployed. I’m also developing benchmark tests to better understand the physics of ignition and deflagration in dust-air premixed combustion. This research will enable scientists to study combustibility in ways that enable fire safety professionals to predict fire and explosion hazards. Our work on developing novel methods and techniques for measurement of fire-induced flows will aid in better understanding of the complex fire problem.
NBC News cited tests conducted in 2013 by Ali Rangwala, professor of Fire Protection Engineering, that led to passage last week of the Portable Fuel Container Safety Act of 2020, which establishes performance standards to protect against portable fuel container explosions. The piece showed that under certain conditions — including a very low volume of gasoline left inside — gas container explosions are possible.
According to The Exponent Telegram, Ali Rangwala, professor of fire protection engineering, is collaborating with researchers at West Virginia University on how to enhance underground mine safety training. With funding from the Alpha Foundation, Rangwala and his colleagues will be making developments to the Dust and Gas Explosion Model to help quantify mining fire hazards on WPI's campus.