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Construction & Civil Engineering
The topic of the thesis is passive fire protection of buildings, in terms of preventing the passage and spread of fire. We can assess the consequences if the whole building burns down, rather than if the fire is confined to one room, where it is extinguished much more quickly.
Evacuation of people is much safer and faster when the fire is confined to as few fire sectors as possible.
As the title reveals, we use stone wool soft barrier systems in our company. This does not mean that we use only stone wool panels, but we also use other fire-resistant materials such as graphite and water-based materials (coatings).
In writing my thesis, I was also attracted by the fact that stone wool is not as harmful to the respiratory tract as I had first assumed. The technology of making stone wool materials has been changing over the years and the end products are less harmful to humans and the environment.
The use of fire-resistant materials is used to fill in the openings required for the running of electrical and mechanical installations.
Initially, in my thesis, I wanted to focus only on the accessibility of closing openings made of concrete and brick, but later I decided to look at openings made of cross-laminated timber in combination with gypsum plasterboard.
It was the cross-laminated timber constructions that fascinated me during the writing of my thesis, as I had a hard time imagining their fire resistance, which, despite my doubts, turned out to be surprisingly good.
As regards the openings or penetrations in the fire sectors, we are unanimous in our company that they are designed to be too small, given the size and quantity of the services that pass through them, and that access to some of the openings is practically impossible.
This inaccessibility is particularly the case in the case of adaptations and extensions to buildings, where, for various reasons, it is necessary to install either electrical or mechanical installations, which make it difficult to access the openings themselves.
The company mentor and I agreed that it would be better if the openings were a few centimeters larger in length and width, as this would significantly reduce the installation time of the stone wool panels. Also, the final product (a fully sealed opening) would have been of a higher professional quality.
It would probably be wise to spend more time in this area on the design of the hole locations and sizes. As a consequence, the cost of materials for the supporting structures would also be reduced.