Aug 8, 2022
This episode explores Wojciech's recent progress with the Fire Science show as well as his new chapter on Fire and Smoke Modeling in the "Handbook of Fire and the Environment". Tune in to hear about modeling fire and smoke in environments as big as city blocks.
Fire Science Show:
Handbook of Fire and the Environment
Gus Gagliardi: [00:00:00] Hello, all welcome to the show. I'm Gus Gagliardi, and this is fire code tech on fire code tech. We interview fire protection professionals from all different careers and backgrounds in order to provide insight and a resource for those in the field. My goal is to help you become a more informed fire protection.
Professional fire code tech has interviews with engineers and researchers, fire marshals, and insurance professionals, and highlights topics like codes and standards, engineering systems, professional development, and trending topics in the industry. So if you're someone who wants to know more about fire protection or the fascinating stories of those who are in the field, you're in the right place.
Hello, all welcome to episode 58 of fire code tech. On this episode, we're speaking once again with Wojciech Węgrzyński WOIC is a friend of the podcast and the host of the fire science show. In this episode, we get some updates on what has been happening with the fire science show and wojak details his chapter in the new published handbook titled the handbook of fire and the environment by S F P.
Wojciech chapter in specific talks about fire and smoke modeling. He evaluates how we can use fire and smoke modeling to better understand how fires impact the environment and what methods we can use to predict and protect individuals from the hazard of fire and the pollutants that are. If you enjoyed this episode, please go check out the fire science show.
He has a wide variety of topics, and he really gets at some fascinating scientific points of view that we don't as often cover on fire code tech. Don't forget to hit that subscribe button for fire code tech and the fire science show. And give us a follow on social media. Also, if you enjoy the content and you wanted to give us a big favor, give us a five star review on apple iTunes podcasts.
Let's get into the show. welcome back to fire code tech. Thanks for coming on the show, sir. Thank you so much, GU thank you so much, GU very happy to be here with you again. Nice. Well, yeah, the fire code tech. Goes round two, I guess. Yeah. Or what is it? The fire science code tech show. That was, that was a good one.
I really enjoyed. I really enjoyed that. That mashup was nice. One. It was fun. It was fun. Yeah. Well, I wanted to just, you know, start off by getting a update of like what you've been thinking about the podcast. We were chatting a little bit off air, but I'm sure everybody is interested about, you know, How you been feeling about it and what's been going on and just like a little bit of background on the, behind the scenes for Roja.
Wojciech Węgrzyński: Yeah. Cool. I'm not, not very often sharing behind the scenes on fire sand in the fire science show. So I guess it makes more sense to share it in, in here. It's been fun. It's been a great year. Definitely a chance to meet and talk with people that I would not usually talk to. And that was, that was really good discovering a lot of new, super smart, super intelligent people who do groundbreaking research in fire for me as an academic broadening my, my field of view.
So that has been excellent. And. I really like it, a lot people seem to like and enjoy it. So makes me very happy to, to get feedback from outside of my closet. and yeah, I, nowhere close to stopping doing that quite opposite. I'm I'm very. Happy to, to do this project, continue this project. And my head is buzzing with ideas, how to make it better, how to grow it.
Gus Gagliardi: So many, so many new roots open up and I, I hope that. It's the early days of the fire science show. And you're gonna hear a lot more from it. Hopefully , we'll see. I would bet on it. I would bet on it with you behind the wheel, but no, that's awesome to hear about. Yeah. I, I definitely know what you mean about the podcast opening up new doors, but yeah, I was wondering with your newest riding endeavor that you were sharing with me.
But like what kind of, how has the, like the symbiotic relationship of the podcast? Like how has that influenced other areas of your career? Because I know for me, it's, I've seen it have subtle and not so subtle influence on knowledge and just opportunities. Yeah. That's kind of an intriguing question, I guess.
Wojciech Węgrzyński: I mean first, first things first I'm a scientist and an engineer I'm I'm podcaster is, is a third hat if I may. And definitely my, my prime career is as is the VO, the [00:05:00] scientist. I I'm the guy who does fire experiments and measures stuff and tries to publish that and shares the knowledge through academic papers mainly.
So. It's difficult to say to what extended this world's overlapped that much. I would say that podcast is I found podcast as an excellent way to communicate the research. Like this is something absolutely. Great. And it it's working like magic and it, it was one of the reasons why I've started podcast.
You know, sometimes you go to a conference and there's a person they're talking about their research. They're giving a 10 minute presentation and it's like, you can go asleep. Sometimes it's really difficult to. To capture all the knowledge that person is trying to share, giving their best. And I'm not saying people are lazy or something or, or unskilled, but it's just the way how it is in conferences.
And then after the conference, you go for a beer with that person and you can spend like three hours in the pop talking about that research. And it is fascinating. And I couldn't get that out of my head. Why, you know, the same person, the same topic, the same thing in one place. It's very difficult to. On the other hand, it's so approachable.
So nice. So juicy, like you can learn so much from talking to people and I figured out the context makes the difference and this human to human interaction makes the difference. And I've bet on that while starting the podcast and it worked out, it really seems to be the thing, like when you talk to people, they open up.
When you ask them questions, they, they light up inside and they want to talk, you know, I, you may know the feeling of talking to a 200 people in the room and you don't really have a good idea if any of them is listening. like, you know, People on their phones. People were watching around someone talking with somebody else on the side, someone leaving the room, middle of the talk.
You didn't know if they left because it's horrible talker. They just received a very important phone. You know, you don't know that it's stressful and here Once you forget, this is being recorded. Once you forget, this is going to be shared with hundreds of thousand or thousands of people you open up and, and you can just, you know, give the science to the world.
And, and this is the interaction between podcasting and academia that. I enjoy the most, I must say I'm not taking that big advantage of, of my podcast with my research because there's a lot happening at ITB and, and at my research group, which I guess I could have a whole podcast about research. We are just doing, but I, I, I wanted my show to be a venue for everyone else and whole community of people, scientists.
So yeah. That's number one. Influence. Yeah. Well maybe in one day you'll have. Media network, where you can have a whole litany of fire scientists talking on different podcasts on a channel one day. We don't know. I won't, I won't sell you short yet. I think you got it in you. Yeah. Media empire. That that'll be great.
There you go. I, I thought at understand, I thought the fire science is too small, even for a podcast. So, but I was very wrong. I was very wrong. It's so niche. It's so niche. And like, I wonder that same thing sometimes I'm like, is it so. is it such a, like a small subset of an audience? Like, is there enough people?
Gus Gagliardi: I really didn't even know. Like I was excited when I was having 10 or 12 people listen to the podcast. I was excited on a weekly basis. I was like, this is awesome. I can't believe that people are even listening to me right now. Like what, what the heck even is happening. So I, I love all what you're. I when thinking when, considering that I thought it is a small audience, but it's an audience that deserves a great, great shows, great content.
Wojciech Węgrzyński: And let's do this and see what happens and, and it turned out cool. Yeah. From the opposite side, like how does podcasting influence my work as a scientist? I get the chance to listen every single episode of fire science here, because I record them. I edited them. I listen to them. So I'm a very solid consumer of my own content.
And I, I honestly think listening to podcasts like. Yours and, and mine and there's others is probably the easiest way for passive career development. Like there, there is no other as easy investment of your time. Even in time it can be considered even entertainment in a way. And yet you learn so much.
So from every interview, I, I learn something that eventually gets implemented in my science. But I would get that by listening to podcast. I wouldn't have to make the podcast to, to have that if I was just listening to, to the podcast, which I am, I, I would still benefit in a very, very similar way. So yeah, I think it's a great medium [00:10:00] and one that's very easy, but very rewarding.
Gus Gagliardi: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Well, I wanted to ask, I feel like I'm just getting selfish here and I'm asking you all the podcast questions up front, but I wanted to ask just like, and I think you've like spoke a little bit about, you know, how it's been and. How things are going, but yeah, I mean, like, I love hearing about your, you saying you're, you're scheming, you're thinking about ways to grow it, but like what dreams do you have, if you could share any for what you would like to do with the fire science show?
Like yeah. Where would, where do you see it going? Yeah, first and foremost, I would like it to continue. Very long time. Like I would love to one day wake up and think about, I dunno, 10 years of interviews I've done with the fire scientists, you know, see in the podcast reflection of how the field grown, how it evolved, how one thought fueled another.
Wojciech Węgrzyński: I, I mean, doing it for a year, I can already I, I can already see Repository of hours of, of interesting interviews, but I really wonder how will it look after like five or 10 years of doing that? How big it'll be? What, what great thoughts will be in it? I would love to know interview today. Some.
Undergraduate student learned that 10 years forward their famous professor and, and it was first communicated. These are the dreams, you know, really they're very down to earth. I, I don't dream about building a tycoon of, of podcasts or, or having I don't know, the number one show on the planet or so that I don't care that much.
I'm reaching my goals with what I'm doing. I would honestly like really love to continue and just like reflect on how it influences lives of others. That's. That's very rewarding on, on its own. Obviously I would love to get the show sponsored one day or, or, you know, get something rolling that. And I think it's important for, for podcast long longevity, you know, it's, it's it's, it's, it's a thing that definitely helps, but it's not a goal on its own.
Gus Gagliardi: It's something that would be nice as an, as an added part of this routine. Yeah, I think it's, I, I mean, I'm sure you're already at a place where if you just started going and chasing sponsors, you could get 'em it's just the time to do all that on top of yeah. Your, your three other jobs. You got your you're an engineer, you're a scientist you're podcast.
You're a father like, yeah, you got, maybe you spare a couple seconds left in the day that you probably need for your sanity. So if you, if you're really one of those sponsors, I'm sure you could go get 'em, but I love. I feel like you have like a philosopher's soul when you speak about these things that, oh, thank you.
Wojciech Węgrzyński: I always enjoy listening to. But I find myself just like going into, I'm listening to a wojak podcast mode, even though I'm supposed to be interview interviewing you. So I need to be careful about listening to you. okay. That's cool. I'll I'll I'll just pop a three minute timer to not exceed you just make sure you start snapping.
Gus Gagliardi: If I look like I'm glazed over and I'm just like listening to you too. Intently kill man. No I wanted to talk to you. You shared with me like a new project that she had just finished. And I saw that Brian Meachum was sharing it on link two, LinkedIn too, after we were talking about it and super exciting, but I really wanted to dive in in this conversation and talk about your new chapter in the handbook of fire and the environ.
Wojciech Węgrzyński: It was, is such an exciting project. And I was delighted to be invited by Brian to participate in, in that project. It's a handbook it's called a handbook of fire and environment. It's within the, let's say environment of, of SF P handbooks. So it's, it's a completely new development that hopefully will be sustained and growing as, as it as its own thing.
It's. Large. Well, handbook is a large book. It it's large book many chapters with, with great, great people, all focused around the environmental impact of fires on the environment, but also in a cultural way, in a social economic way. So all the, all the different ways, how fires impact society.
Editors of the book are Brian Mitchum, who you've mentioned, and professor Margaret Magna me from Sweden. So they're, they're, they're both co-editors of the, of the book. They were leading the whole thing. And I even had, I had Margaret on my podcast some time ago, we were talking about sustainability in build environment.
And this is also something that, that fits into the puzzle of, of fires and the environment. So the book itself, [00:15:00] it started, I know three, maybe four years ago. It takes a long time to publish a handbook, man. It's like you and me are on a tight schedule with the podcast and almost a weekly. It takes years to publish a book of this magnitude.
And it it's, it's amazing. It's even if you do your best job and at the moment when it's published, the, the references in it are already two years old because it takes so much time to process the book, but ah, it's, it's cool. The book is, the book is out there and the knowledge there is is worth sharing.
Absolutely. If you want sorry. The, the story of the handbook like goes, goes far back and it's it has been triggered by the how fires do damage environment. We we've been more and more. You know, aware of the effects fires due to environment in terms of smoke, polluting the air in terms of the soil and water damage that is done from fire and extinguishing actions.
We had some huge, like petrochemical fires, huge chemical plant fires that. Their ethics on the environment around was very profound, but we also had fires like the tragic gr tower or the Notre Dame, par cathedral fires, which were just buildings inside of a city. And yet they had environmental consequences.
If you look through that layer on them. So it it's something we are becoming more and more aware. And this handbook was a way to answer this need for the society to be able to quantify, measure, model that, to better understand this impacts. So yeah, that's the handbook. Yeah. Wow. That's that's incredible to hear you talk about like the scope of a document like this.
Gus Gagliardi: I mean, I guess it makes complete sense when you have this many authors this much like peer review and, and this much just process to compile it all, you have thousands of pages probably. Or I don't know how roughly how long it is, but it's it's like 500, but it's, it's, it's a massive work. Yeah. 500 man.
That's still like a dense, dense, but man, so much to be gleaned about it too. And so I, you know, was But, yeah, it's exciting and cool to see a little bit of your, your wind talk. You know, I didn't get through the entire chapter over that you wrote, but, oh man. It's it's it's way through and probably take with me.
Take me months to get through it, but I was like trying to read it and UN not just read it, but understand it, you know, I could read it and just like go through it and my eyes go over and be like, yep. That went inside my brain for a moment. Or just like go through it, try to pick it apart. I was taking notes, but it was really interesting to.
Get like a little bit more on your, on your wind talk. And I feel like that's your baby, you know, like this, this idea and this thing that you really love to. So it was cool for me to get a little bit of a peek behind the, the curtain for. For that lecture and that discussion that we had talked about.
And honestly, when we were doing our first talk, you were given hints about the win talk when you came back. Yeah. So it was like perfect timing. Perfect timing. yeah. So, but yeah, but I'll, so let's get into that. Let's talk about like, you know, I guess let's get into. So like who would benefit from reading this book?
Like, who's kind of like the, the audience or the target. I mean, I can definitely see. People who like yourself and, and like the firm I work for at times, like performance based design professionals are people who deal with fire and the, you know, just the sociology of it, the science of it, all the parameters, like they can benefit by reading your chapter.
But yeah, maybe you have a greater sense of who's a good audience for this document. It's it's a tough question, you know, because I would love to say everybody and that's a horrible answer to such post questions, which I now know being a content creator, if your content is for everybody, it's for no one.
Wojciech Węgrzyński: So, so I'll try to Wrap up who would be a perfect recipient of this chapter, like who I would like to give this book in a president and tell them you would really, really benefit from reading this. And I, I think it would be an engineer, not necessarily dealing with the building design, but one that wants to understand a bigger picture or because of the work they're doing.
They have to. Understand the bigger picture, the context of what they're being designing, be the building, a tunnel, a road, a system you know a bigger community even. If, if you are involved in, in [00:20:00] design and you would like to understand another layer of perception of your. If you're in the building, we usually care.
Okay. Is your ISA time higher than your required time? And if that is you're good, if not, then you're bad. What are your concentrations inside? But as soon as you know, the smoke is exhausted outside of that compartment, you don't think about words going to fly. How far can it fly? Who's going to be vulnerable to that smoke.
And actually even how much will there be? Eed out of your fire. It's not something we consider today that much while designing buildings or other systems. I'm not saying we should always do that, but I am also sure that in certain cases we would benefit from understanding what our what our buildings, what, what threats our building pose to the surroundings.
As I mentioned the cases of Grandful or, or Nord Dame, it was a single building burned down. And yet it had some environmental consequences in its nearest surroundings outside of all the other damage that was caused by these tragedies. So even as a fire of a single building can do a lot of harm to the surroundings.
And to understand that, like how can you. Understand what the impact will be. You, you have to calculate it in a way like we're engineers. We, we are supposed to not give a random answer based on our feeling or intuition, but we are all to calculate and then measure and, and model. So this is what. We were invited for in this chapter previously, as you've mentioned, we've been known for our work in wind and fire, coupled modeling and environmental modeling of the fire outcomes is largely related to the atmospheric winds.
I mean, winds will be driving force for the, for the contamination. So it was very Easy to find a link between our work that was focusing on the winds and fires inside the buildings and extending it to understand how the winds affect the, the, the consequences of the fire outside of the building. We were focused on the inside, but it was very easy switch to also take a look at the greater picture outside now.
One thing that we were doing, we were usually focusing on numerical modeling with CFD computational fluid dynamics, which is something that gives you great answers, but in the very near proximity of your building, because it's very detailed simulation. You can do a simulation of a whole city, but it's quite expensive and you probably don't want to do that all the time.
So we thought with Karth or Thomas Thomas Lipsky from the Lulin technical university we thought, okay, so we have this understanding of the great model CFD on, on the near. There's plenty of other models being used, which I also do to my personal career and other developments previously, I have known we should like broaden it.
So, so this is why in this in this chapter, we take the reader into a journey. First we try to discuss what. Is a fire mission. And there's a great chapter in the handbook about that as well. Like what is a fire? What does it emit? What can you expect from it as a source of heat and smoke, then we go through multiple types of of models with growing complexity.
We start with something that's called the box models. Where you just assume a whole space is just one thing and you average things out within it. And that's the, that's probably the simplest way you can model contamination within an area, but you're. You are constrained by the size of the box.
So, so it works only in, in certain scenarios. Then we go into Gian plume models where you have a single equation, AIAN distribution equation that allows you to calculate. If I admit this amount of smoking here, given that PSIC conditions around me, wind blowing in this direction, how much will go like 500 meters AF away, a kilometers, five kilometers away, 10 kilometers away.
You can calculate this distribution. Now the problem with this is, is a very simple, easy calculation. It's just one equation you solve. You assume that the weather is not changing. Like, you know, you have one wind direction, one wind velocity, and it's constantly changing. And the bigger scale you go, like if I model a vehicle on a car, That's probably okay-ish to model it like that.
But if you model like McMurray fault fire, where you have hundreds of square, hundreds of thousands of [00:25:00] square meters burning together, and the plume will take days to reach a different place in the us. You cannot model it like that. So you need to take this different things into account. So we go into more complex models there's models.
I, I love them. They're called puff models where you it's more or less like Gian plume model, but you emit puffs of your fire and you model where the puff will go. So let's imagine. And each hour of a fire is a single puff and you just measure, okay, this puff goes here. This one goes here. This one goes here.
And based on that, you, you have a more or less. Overall image on, on where the smoke will go. Then you can go into very complicated models. Laurian particle models, where you emit Laurian particles into, into three dimensional setting and you track where they go with allows you for very high, detailed investigation or where the smoke will go.
and because of howing particles work, you can add chemistry to them. It's you can play a lot with them and ULA in models where you basically do more as a CFD of a, of a continent where you can really model the dispersion with a, with a complicated topography, complicated Windfield weather. At the cost, obviously it's not easy, but you can do that.
So you have a hierarchy of, of models that you can use for a particular problem at hand. And of course, CD, which we many of these models, like there's their weakest thing is the nearfield, like what's happening directly near to the fire so that we cover with the CFD. So if you would like. Learn about this, the, the, the, the chapter and the handbook would be just for you.
do you need this immediately in your life? I'm not sure, but if a day comes and you will need it, it's there waiting for you. So there's also a point of having a handbook. So if you, one day, find out yourself in the need for modeling things like this. Here you go. It's all there. Yeah. That's awesome. Yeah.
Gus Gagliardi: I think it's stunning rooting through your chapter and just like skimming through a little bit. How many modeling examples are in this chapter that you produce? I just was thinking about how much time it must have taken to even a symbol, all, all of these like different modeling examples and all that.
I was like, man, I've seen CFD before and I saw like some of those. Like the cutouts and the nice renderings and like artistic renderings of the wind cityscape and stuff, which was neat that I'd seen from something you presented before. But lots of great. It's not just. Text. It's like a beautiful imagery of modeling and, and a lot more information and charts and, and, you know, distributions for what's happening with this material.
Wojciech Węgrzyński: So thank you very much. We, we wanted it to like if, if this is the first and only piece of research, you. On this specific topic, modeling environmental impact of fires. We wanted it to at least give you a fairly complete overview. Obviously we're talking about a whole field of science. There's hundreds of people writing papers of that.
There's dozens of models. We, we were, it was even, it would, it would be even impossible to give a list, a complete list of models, not, not even to go and, and, and discuss them. So we focused on the ones that we knew are most popular or the ones we had some experience in. I mean, it, it is not an exclu exhaustive list.
I, I guess, at, at some stage we'll build up on that and then present a more complete image. I think for, well, it took a few months of work. So for the time associated to make this chapter happen, I think we did a, a fairly good work completing all of this together, compiling it into, into one one piece of content.
Gus Gagliardi: The chapter that that now is, is in the hands of engineers to. Yeah. So like how long did it take to like physically write it? Because I've been doing more technical writing recently and I'm so bad at it. I'm not good at all. and so I was just looking at this document and how like, Nice and polished. It is, and like the, the terminology and everything flowing and having nice little poetic phrasing in there.
And I'm like, this would take me forever to write this. I can, I can tell you, let me find a manuscript folder on my, yeah, from the first draft till the one that we've sent. To [00:30:00] Brian. It was four months of work. Wow. Yeah, it was four months. I remember quite vividly. I I've spent my entire Christmas break reading literature and, and writing that it was fun.
Wojciech Węgrzyński: Like 10 hours a day reading it. Oh my God. And writing, I like this. It's not it was not Pain. I, I, I, to some extent enjoyed, enjoyed it. It was nice to learn. The more pain comes when you have to like rephrase stuff and then put it into context. So, yeah, it, it was few months. And then obviously it was like two years in editing, you know, many people having it in their hands.
Criticizing making changes, editorials and, and stuff like that. So the final product is a product of, of the work of many people. And it's not something you just go in and ride overnight, but yeah. Okay. Just writing it was months . Wow. That's incredible. That's cool. I don't think I've ever written anything that should have taken months in months.
Gus Gagliardi: oh, I mean maybe a term paper as a student that I put off for too long, took me months to write, but I guarantee I wasn't writing that whole time. No, no. It's like, and I don't think I would have time to write it now again with the podcast on, on the, with the podcast project on my back. So I'm not sure if I'll ever author another.
Piece like that. Well, maybe I will. We'll see. I'm sure you will. I'm sure you will. Maybe you'll get that patron one day and then you'll be able to outsource some of this editing but no I wanted to talk about like, it's such a complex process of, you know, Just like, I'd like to talk with you about just like some of the basic factors for like these modelings, but I know that that's just like, what's the basic factors of fire, which, you know, but also a topic I'd like to discuss with you is just like, so if we.
Had infinite computing power mm-hmm like, what would we be able to do with these like models? You know, like a CFD for a whole city. Like if you could like model whatever, pick a reasonable sized city, but if you could model a reasonable size city and you had infinite computing power, could you get a, like a reasonable approximate approximation of like, Wind distribution of pollutants over a city from a fire.
Wojciech Węgrzyński: I mean, like. I was seeing you having some examples of the different mm-hmm zone modeling and like near and the, the different compartments. But yeah, I just wanted to ask that. So my brain always jump. So what's the extreme, yeah, we, we, we don't have to go into abstract thinking, I, I, I think I can give you examples of, of citywide simulations, because we are actually doing them right now.
Maybe not on a moderately size city, but on like a square kilometer of a city which is like quite a large chunk of a large city. So, so it takes us using our 128 cars of 128 CPUs. It takes us 24 hours to, to simulate a fire with all the distributions around it. So. It's not it's not something that will come in the future.
It's something that we will already have. It's just not, not that many people are using that yet. If you wanted to seem like what would we do if we had crazy amount of power and like infinite infinite resources. I'm not like you can spend whatever amount of resources you want to increase the fidelity of your simulations.
You can always use the smaller resolutions of your mesh. You can always use more complicated models. Does it translate to a better simulations? Not necessarily it's it's not such a direct link. I mean, it it's, it's a complicated, I'm actually gonna have a whole podcast episode with Jason Floyd about that, like in a month.
so there's an, an, the answer is, is it's complicated, but not so easy. One thing that we like the, the. Issues are with the problem definition, not with the solution. You know, if you think about wind, like what's wind, like what direction, what velocity, what gusts, what we, we there's even a thing called the atmospheric stability.
And based on that, you get different wind profiles. If you have a sunny clear day, or if you have a very. Cloud layer you'll have completely different atmospheric conditions. In, in those two days, you can have a wind in the winter. You can have a wind in, in the summer. So, you know, the, the amount of different wind context you can run into is, is endless, like in endless amount of fires you can.
So if I had an access to infinite Computational power. [00:35:00] I would do infinite number of simulations, like concurrently to each other to really work out probability distributions and see a risk based image of on how Wind and fire go together. Like I would love to know with probability of this amount of percent, the wind impact will be this.
And with this probability, it will be like this. And if the wind is extreme, but the probability is very low, the impact is extreme. Or maybe it's not, I don't know. Maybe with the wind that is very highly prob. Low velocity flow that occurs every other day. Maybe the impact is the biggest. I don't know that it's something that we're currently actually researching in, in a project that we're carrying at ITB.
And we're somewhere in the middle of it. We are in the numerical calculations now to really measure. Impact of wind different types of wind, different, different directions in our context on how the consequences of the fire in an urban settlement are. And then we'll be able to, to say to what extent extended this something important or, or not based on risk.
So yeah, I would, I would spend. Infinite resources on being able to do risk. not necessarily, you know, doing the fanciest simulation. I can. Mm, that makes sense. Yeah, I guess that's the whole thing is like understanding the very fluid and variable nature of the, the wind and just how quickly things can change the probabilistic.
You know, kind of distribution of what could happen and the dispersion of the pollutants, I guess that makes sense of, you know, You know, like, do we even know enough about like the way that the wind and the atmosphere to even make that model? Yeah. Even if you had infinite like resources you know, like you're saying the valuable use of those of that.
I I'll give you. I'll I'll give you for a context, a nice example. Like a few weeks ago, there was a severe drought in, in, in Europe heat wave. And there was like one of the hottest days ever in, in, in UK. They had a massive number of fires in London that day, like massive number. Like they, they compared it like it was the worst days.
Sinces world war II in London in terms of the amount of fires. Wow. And because I'm involved in the biolife project I'm on the WhatsApp there. And there was a discussion there, like, and Gilman was mentioning and the wind was like very low that day, like four meters per second. And I checked it for London and it seems to be somewhere around the average or median wind and We understand, or we know that stronger wind usually leads to worse outcomes of fires.
Like fire can spread, can grow bigger. It's it's usually connected with the worse outcomes. So if on the west day, since world war II, we had wind that was like around 50% chance and it was a wind that. Possibly not contribute that much to the damage. Like it could have been much, much worse with the worse wind.
And if the probability of that was 50%, we essentially won a coin us, you know, like if it was not, the outcomes could have been so, so much worse. So this is why we need to. Understand that, and then be able to, to model that, to predict that because if this time we won a coin, us, what's gonna happen on the next worst day.
Since world war II, will we lose the coin us? And how horrible will it be? What should we. What should we be ready for? Like, do we understand that as a society? I don't think so. So to, to gain insight into these questions, you first have to solve the fundamentals, which is how do you model them both together, wind and fire.
Gus Gagliardi: Yeah. And that's what we're trying to do. Yeah, that's awesome. I like that real world context that Shere providing, you know, I think that's something that over the, like the history of our discipline has always been such a useful teaching tool and just way to ground the importance of what we do. You.
It seems like society. It's very easy to forget, you know these tragedies when you exist, you know, most of your daily life is not impacted. And then you'll see a flash of something like this on the news. Mm-hmm like what you're just saying about London and. It having its worst day for fire since world war II.
And it's like, you know, when you can bring to mind something so visceral like [00:40:00] that, it really has a great brings home. The meaning of like what we do and Notre Dame and gr fell. I mean, two tragedies that. They're still talking about to this day. I mean, they're still litigating Grandville. It would've happened in like 20 17, 20 16, something like that.
Yeah, I can't remember, but it's just incredible how much impact and cultural significance that these fires and this subject has on people and it just kind of. Goes under the radar for the culture of how we exist. We just kind of forget about it. Go back to, we are dealing with very real problems in fire, like we're in.
I mean, it, it, in a way it is abstract in a way it is something very. Weird complex difficult to understand. You start to realize the complexities, they, they prevent you from answering most of the questions usually, but in the end you have down to earth problems like real buildings that burn down real environments that suffer real people that suffer and, and yeah, that's what, that's why we are doing this difficult work to.
To, to, to help that and, and, you know, being down to earth and being able to relate the, the science to the real world problems. I think it's an engineering science for a reason. Yeah. We, we have to solve the problems without knowing everything first. Yeah. So I feel like I you've talked, you've covered it pretty well, but just like, so why.
I guess I'll just ask, instead of trying to put words in your mouth. Yeah. Why, what do you find compelling about like wind engineering or like the computational aspect of wind engineering or trying to be better about not like asking fully loaded questions and just like, obviously pushing my thoughts or opinions on people.
When I am trying to do an interview. It's cool. Yeah, I, I, I like computational wind engineering is is something that I find. Interesting. I mean, we are using the same tools for, for fleet mechanics in, in fire safety engineering and in computational wind engineering. But the culture is very different.
Wojciech Węgrzyński: They approach their problems in a different way. Like you have different scales in, in, in space. For example, like in wind engineering, you would consider a building and you can go away with two meter mesh on the building because it's a big block. But if you consider fire you, like, you need to model like these tiny details that will influence the fire.
So here we, we are in a kind of different world than when wind engineers in terms what we are expected from our models to be in time scale. In wind engineering, you can most likely go away with with steady state simulations, something you never see in fire, because fire is a transient event. You have to like the time, the time aspect of a fire is fundamental to the fire, to the safety to E everything happens on the timeline.
In winds, not, not really. It's like probability and just a single, single thing that happens at the time. So, so you go away with steady. So in, in the end, I mean, the tools are the same. I mean, we're also talking about building, so the thing you're modeling is the same, but you're doing it in a different way.
And. This is compelling. You know, if you are a, if you're a guy who's been doing fire modeling, they're all professional career, you know, building these buildings, putting fires inside modeling, HVC systems, smoke control systems, doing the same thing over and over and over again, and then comes someone and tells you, now you have to do it.
Like I forget about this interior. It's not relevant. It's, it's kind of refreshing, you know, to do something in a completely different way. And when you try to combine both, that's where the magic starts because you cannot simply combine them. Like you cannot put a fire analysis inside of wind analysis.
It will not work. It, it it's, it's, it's a different thing. You cannot just drop wind randomly on your, on your fire. By ex you just extend the domain by 10 meters and drop wind. It's not gonna work. It's not wind that you're modeling. It becomes pretty interesting when you try to model the interface between them.
It's not so simple. And I, I mean, I, I like dealing with difficult problems, so I, I really enjoyed being exposed to this one and trying to maybe not solve, but at least Try to work in this difficult setting. So yeah, that, that is rewarding and compelling and interesting for sure. For me using the, the fundamentals of computational wind engineering in fire safety engineering.
Gus Gagliardi: Yeah, I think that's awesome. That's funny that you're like, oh, well, it seems like you guys are playing on easy mode over here with [00:45:00] steady state equations and yeah. You know, just like, I mean, I know it's a different set of problems, but, but then again like, and they can look at us and they, they, they can Ask us, like what's your time steps?
Wojciech Węgrzyński: What's your what, how, how do you solve the, the chemistry of fire? Oh, we simplify that. Oh, you are playing easy mode. You're simplifying it. It way too much. They do take significant care in, in boundary layer problems, which we all. Like not everyone at ologists boundary layers in, in fire safety engineering yet to solve with boundary layers in mind when you're solving your flows.
And these, these guys would be very serious about them. So, so it's like we oversimplify something horribly in fire as well. That is very exotic from the view of the other field and vice versa, I guess, I guess that's with the, every field of engineering, the users model. Right. Yeah, that's definitely true.
Gus Gagliardi: Yeah. We just know the set of parameters and the distributions that we've simplified our equations around and, you know, you can't account for everything. So that makes sense. Well, I wanted to just ask you to zoom out a little bit and just speak more broadly about your career experience and just ask you like, you know on top of this endeavor you had going, what kind of trends have you been seeing just in your professional career?
Wojciech Węgrzyński: It could be in the lab or in your project work. I, I guess I can talk broadly about, Hm, fire engineering as I view it. One trend that is really emerging is, is artificial intelligence. And. it's it's a thing that's in one way it's a black box. No one really understands how it works. It opens a whole world of possibilities that you would not even imagine without it yet.
It's difficult to, to handle interpret and make sure that you have it under control when you're using it. So. It's definitely something growing and it, it will be growing and it will be amazing in the future, but together it's gonna be a hell of a challenge, you know, to make sure we are doing it in a great way.
Like, think about how people can misuse CFD. Without understanding it and then multiply it by a hundred. That's how that's how difficult the AI can be if you, if you misuse it too much. So, yeah, it's, it's, it's a challenge, but it's an emerging trend that I see more and more in the years. And there are great people working on ITZ last year in Clemson.
There's CNN, Wongan in Hong Kong, protecting university and many others. Who are carving the path for everyone else in, in fire to, to use these magnificent tools, you know? So yeah, that's, that's a trend for sure. Yeah, it's so wild. I you're right. I mean, I think AI is just in such the early days, you know, I was looking at like Microsoft outlook documentation and I was looking, they had like little e-learning and I was looking through their courses yesterday, looking for how to do something.
And like they had. Like 80% of their documentation was about like, or their little courses were about AI. And it was like, what really is this? Why is it like, like how to, how to create a culture within your company? That's AI ready? And like all this talk about AI and I'm just thinking, as you're saying this, like this is coming and it's going to be a huge part of probably like society.
Within our lifetimes. And then the next, probably, I don't know how long wouldn't hazard a guess, but I mean, guess if we don't screw up, it's going to be magnificent. Like you will like if we make it work and validate it and make sure we are using the correct tools for correct problems, AI could take over significant amount of repetitive and Non-critical tasks, fire safety engineers are doing.
To allow them to focus on the things only they can solve, you know, viewing, building as a holistic sociotechnical system, right? No one, but fire safety engineer can do that. No algorithm will ever be able to do that. You need a human being with a great understanding of fire building building physics to comprehend.
And we will meet these engineers on the same end. You don't want these engineers to focus on simple things that can be solved by an algorithm. So if we can find this beautiful golden center of having the tool, not misusing it and benefiting from it fuel. It would be a beautiful world. [00:50:00] I'm just not sure if we can get to that point before we either break it or ban it, you know?
Gus Gagliardi: So yeah. Well, I'm a, I'm a cynic by nature and all I can think about is your commentary in your chapter about the error percentages before we developed some of the more. Modern models for CFD and how it was like 20 to two to 200% or something. Yeah. You know, scatters on. Yeah. But I can just, I don't know.
I think that. Maybe I'm just cynical for human nature, but about how people will use a tool with that kind of horsepower behind it. But I'm sure just as in everything in life, there will be people who do it the right way and people who do it the wrong way. Exactly. Yeah. And that's at the same time, it's, it is one of the biggest opportunities and perhaps one of the biggest challenges we have, you know, because we know it's powerful.
Wojciech Węgrzyński: We know you can use different like a, a iOS of course, just a name. Tons of different techniques and tools. And it's just, just, just a catch phrase. It's wider than CFD. Even like it, it has multiple flavors, multiple ways how you can implement multiple places in which. You can use computer to help you understand your data sets and problems at hand.
So we really need to learn how to use it. We need to learn how to control it. We need to learn how to know that the predictions of it are credible or not. This will be very difficult to solve, but if we get there, it's gonna be fun. Yeah. Yeah, I'm sure we will gotta figure out how, how I, how we fit into that.
Gus Gagliardi: But it sounds like you got a good idea with still providing that critical large scale oversight for the, that can't easily be reproduced with the algorithm. Yep. But yeah, I guess just thinking about like What kind of resources do you like to use? Wojak it could be professional or I'd even take a non-professional podcast recommendation.
If you like to listen to podcasts or whatever you'd like to offer up to the viewers. Or if you've been watching something good lately, I don't, it's up to you. Dealer's choice at this point. You've done outstanding so far. So yeah. Cool, man. Shameless plug. Like there's the reasons right now, you know, I produce it.
Wojciech Węgrzyński: it's, it's a great reason. But if you ask me where I get my resources, I I'm a scientist. I, I mainly rely on scientific papers which is very difficult to recommend to people who are non scientists, because you will be very frustrated by the way, how they are written and their hard to understand and comprehend.
It's very rarely you find an answer to a problem in your paper, in the, in the scientific papers. So yeah, that's what we scientists have to work with. And I guess there's a. Space for people like Gus, me and others who try to, to build a bridge between engineers and scientists. So there's, there are credible journals, fire sector, journal, fire technology, which are great sources of knowledge, inspiration.
As I said, difficult to, to comprehend that points. And and obviously behind the paywall, I can go whole day about how paywalls are destroying the scientific environment and how much I had hates that. But yeah, that's, that's how it is my. I really I think it benefit a lot from being a member of like SAP and IFSS organizations.
These memberships like give me the, the ability to be part of engineering community and what they produce is, is absolutely outstanding. And I must say I learn more from being part of their projects, like being part of committees, being part of even, you know, writing that hand. I would never, never learn that much about modeling.
As I did, when trying to summarize my knowledge and write the, the handbook chapter and the same goes into committees. If you join a committee and you have to work at a problem and try to convey that knowledge to others, you learn so much your own on your own. So. Not just consuming content and knowledge, but trying to create new knowledge, maybe a best way to, to gain new knowledge.
So I would absolutely recommend participating in in the efforts of this bodies and Possibilities are endless because the needs are so huge. There's always a committee to join and participate. So, so these are these are great things. And outside of firearms, outside of engineering, I'm a huge fan of, of fin and smart, passive income podcasts.
That is an amazing ecosystem of, of very positive [00:55:00] way of thinking. About entrepreneurship and just life in general, it I've gained so much from listening to patents. He's been an amazing mentor even though he I've never met him, he doesn't know about my existence. So I view him as, you know, a God in the podcast world, but yeah, it's, it's, it's been I I'm sharing, I I'm on his journey.
For years now. And I enjoy every step of that all the way. I highly recommend smart, passive income and, and just Google path. You'll find him. Awesome. Well, I appreciate that Woj. I feel like that's a nice, neat bow on the podcast. I thank you for coming on. That was awesome. Yeah. Thank you so much guys.
Gus Gagliardi: Looking forward to the next one. Sounds good. Thanks for listening. Everybody. Be sure to share the episode with a friend, if you enjoyed it, don't forget that fire protection and life safety is serious business. The views and opinions expressed on this podcast are by no means a professional consultation or a codes and standards interpretation.
Be sure to contact a licensed professional. If you are getting involved with fire protection and or life. Thanks again, and we'll see you next time.