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Dr. Vyto Babrauskas to give CURENT Special Seminar on Monday, June 17, 2019

Monday, June 17, 2019 from 9:30 am- 11:00 am

Dr. Vyto Babrauskas will present a special seminar entitled "Powerlines and Wildfires: Cause or Victim?" in MHK 124 on Monday, June 17, 2019.  This seminar can be seen in person, through webcast or through WebEx (Webcast and Webex info is toward bottom of this email).

Title: Powerlines and Wildfires: Cause or Victim?Dr. Vyto Babrauskas.jpg

Abstract: The country is crisscrossed with transmission and distribution powerlines, and these commonly traverse over areas of vegetation. Under suitable weather conditions, vegetation is susceptible to being ignited from a wide variety of sources of heat or energy. When a wildland fire occurs and there are powerlines in the vicinity, it becomes appropriate to consider if the powerline might have been the cause of ignition for this fire. Conversely, a serious wildfire can be highly destructive to electrical utility equipment, thus powerlines can also be victims of wildfires. Since the responsibility assigned will be different depending on whether a line is a cause or a victim, it is important to properly evaluate the evidence and endeavor to reach correct conclusions. 

Dr. Babrauskas has been preparing a massive new book, Electrical Fires and Explosions. In that endeavor, he has had to examine critically the available research that can be useful to assess the cause/victim status of a particular line. This seminar will examine the details pertinent to both possibilities and will offer some suggestions that may be helpful in properly understanding a wildfire incident that involves powerlines.

Bio: Dr. Vyto Babrauskas was a long-time researcher at The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) where he developed the two primary tools for measuring heat release rate of fires—the Cone Calorimeter and the large-scale furniture calorimeter.  He was awarded the first-ever Ph.D. degree in fire protection engineering, from the University of California, Berkeley, he also holds degrees in Physics and Structural Engineering.  He is the author of over 350 articles and reports and three reference books: Heat Release in Fires, Fire Behavior of Upholstered Furniture and Mattresses, and the Ignition Handbook, which is the standard science reference work for fire investigators. Currently, he is finalizing the preparation of his latest book Electrical Fires and Explosions.

In 2005, the became the first-ever consultant that ASTM formally retained to assist in the process
ASTM standards from the research findings on the fire and collapse of the World Trade Center. Dr. Babrauskas served as editor for three editions (2003, 2007, and 2014) of Fire Science Applications to Fire Investigations. This is the only extensive collection of research papers on the topics of fire investigation and forensic applications of fire science.

During 2016 – 2019, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Dept. of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, University of California, San Diego (UCSD), in the combustion research group of Prof. Forman Williams.

In 2019, he was appointed as a Fellow at The Christian Regenhard Center for Emergency Response Studies at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York




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